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Back to school: How parents can save their child from foodborne illness | #schoolsaftey


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Back to school season is officially upon us as students prepare to head back to school in just a couple of weeks. Doctors say for parents, that means doing the right kind of planning for school lunches.

Healthy lunches aren’t just about good food choices. Parents also need to consider the potential dangers of foodborne illnesses.

“Young children are a group of the population particularly susceptible to foodborne illness, and serious foodborne illness,” Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sandra Eskin said. 

The CDC says foodborne illnesses cause 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

“That’s always a big concern, making sure things stay fresh throughout the day,” Shavonn Daley, a concerned mother, said.

One mistake parents make when packing lunch is not keeping cold food at 40 degrees or lower to prevent bacteria. The old brown paper bag won’t cut it this time. 

“There are small ice packs, there are small cold packs,” Eskin said. “And you can also use a juice box or a water bottle that you put in the freezer the night before and you stick it in the lunchbox.”

Sara Fischer says she’s ready to send her 7-year-old back to school with a safe lunch.

“I actually bought one of the little Bento boxes that has the freezer part attached to it, so it stays in the freezer,” she said. 

Food safety experts say when preparing lunch, it’s important to keep kitchen surfaces clean and raw meat away from other foods.

With a few simple steps, parents and kids can get an A+ in food safety.

Food safety experts also say hot food should be kept above 140 degrees. This is where a thermos could come in handy.



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