(NC)—Bagged lunches are healthy, economical and nutritious. But they also pose the threat of hosting harmful bacteria, unless food is handled and packed properly. Use the following tips as your study guide for "Food Safety 101":
• Spill-proof, seal-able bags are a must for transporting and storing food safely. Stock up on these items to keep leftovers ready for the lunch box.
• Preparing lunch the night before is a great time-saver. Store lunches safely in the refrigerator overnight.
• Prepare a clean surface for lunch packing. Wash your hands, utensils and counter with hot, soapy water to destroy bacteria.
• Sandwiches are a popular lunchtime staple: look for lunchmeat with a reputable brand name to ensure food safety. Maple Leaf, for instance, has made food safety a top priority and is committed to providing customers with the highest standards of food safety assurance.
• Consider using an insulated travel bottle. It will keep leftover soup, chili or stew safe and hot until you're ready to enjoy it.
• Look for a freezer gel pack and an insulated lunch box. These items will keep foods like sandwiches cool until lunchtime, preventing bacterial growth.
• Store your lunch in a refrigerator at work or school, if possible. If not, avoid leaving your lunch in direct sunlight or near any heat source.
Congratulations, you are now a "Food Safety 101" graduate. You are certified to pack safe bagged lunches, and to teach your favourite students about the importance of food safety. For graduate-level food safety tips, visit www.mapleleaf.com.
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