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School Sack Lunches Unsafe?

Study Finds Less Than 2% of Perishables at 'Safe' Temperatures, Raising Risk for Food-borne Illness

School Lunches: Perspective

Aaron Glatt, MD, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, tells WebMD the risk identified in the study is theoretical, as the researchers did not track food-borne illness.

"It's unknown if this makes a difference [the study findings] from a health point of view," says Glatt, president and CEO of St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y.

Even so, safe food storage is important, he says. He urges parents to ask schools about refrigeration if they pack perishables in their kids' lunches.

Lunch-Packing Tips for Parents

Almansour, a parent, knows mornings can be hectic when trying to get to work and get your child to school or day care.

He advises parents:

  • Keep the packed lunch in the refrigerator until right before the child is ready to go.
  • At school, put the lunch of a younger child in the refrigerator yourself, if possible, instead of relying on staff to do so. Ask your child's preschool staff to monitor opening and closing of the refrigerator so food will remain cold.

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