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USDA recommendations on food safety ahead of school year | #schoolsaftey

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – About 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses happen every year in the U.S. and children are among the most vulnerable.

As parents get ready to pack their children’s school lunches, food safety experts urge you to be cautious.

Food safety experts at the USDA say if you pack your child’s lunch the night before, leave the insulated bag open in the refrigerator to allow the cold to reach the food. They also say it’s critical to pack perishable lunches in an insulated bag with at least two cold sources to ensure the food stays under 40 degrees.

“Those cold sources can be anything from a gel pack to in fact a juice box or a water bottle. You can stick the juice box or water bottle in the freezer, then stick them in the lunch,” USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Specialist Sandra Eskin said.

You also want to take care in preparing your child’s lunch. The USDA says may times cross contamination can happen by using the same cutting boards for food like raw meat and vegetables.

The agency suggests using different colored boards to help make it easier to remember.

New this year for Minnesota families, the state’s free school meals program will cover the cost of one breakfast and one lunch for every student every day.

However, parents may still want to have some money in their child’s lunch account to cover the cost of any a la carte items.

Also, kids who choose to bring a sack lunch will need to buy their milk. In the Rochester district, that’s 45 cents a carton.

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