2012-08-30 / Community

MDARD offers tips for packing a safe lunch

LANSING – Summer is nearing an end and parents and children across Michigan are preparing for the back-to-school season. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is reminding parents to follow some simple safety guidelines as they pack their children’s lunches.

“Providing your child with the proper nutrition is important, but it’s just as important that those healthy choices are kept safe,” said Kevin Besey, MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division director. “Following simple guidelines can ensure the lunch you pack your child is safe from bacteria that may cause foodborne illnesses.”

The following guidelines are recommended by both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and MDARD:

• Before packing lunches, wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.

• Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before the next item.

• Use at least two ice sources (two ice packs or one ice pack and one frozen water bottle or juice box) to keep perishable food items cold.

• Use insulated containers to best keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

• Avoid having leftovers by not over packing perishable food items.

• Discard used paper bags and used food packaging.

• When reheating leftovers cover food for safe, even heating and to hold in moisture.

• Food items that don’t require refrigeration include: whole fruits and vegetables, hard cheese, canned meat and fish, breads, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and pickles.

For more food safety information and tips, visit www.foodsafety. gov or www.michigan.gov/ foodsafety.

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