In just a few weeks, summertime will be winding down and children will be heading back to school.
Now is the perfect time for parents who pack lunches for their precious kiddos to brush up on how to keep harmful food poisoning out of the lunch box. With a little planning, you’ll be happily surprised at how easy packing safe lunches can be in your daily morning routine.
So, here’s a list of facts, tips, and resources to help you pack your child’s lunch with food safety as the top priority:
Now, for children who eat their lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), it’s important to teach them ways they can help prevent foodborne illness at lunchtime, too. And getting active through advocacy is critical for positive change.
Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture states they are “committed to a comprehensive, coordinated approach to food safety for the NSLP,” the sad reality is that children have become gravely ill from lunches served at schools.
One young girl, Lindsay, endured extensive health problems and horrific pain after eating a strawberry dessert served at her Michigan school that was contaminated with Hepatitis A. And Lindsay wasn’t the only victim. A huge outbreak ensued with hundreds more Michigan children getting sick with Hep A from tainted strawberries.
So, STOP urges you to do a couple of things:
First, talk with your kids about this issue and share food safety tips they need to use, which include:
Next, become an advocate for improved school food safety practices and stricter regulations.
Start by reviewing this Food-Safe Schools Action Guide published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s intended for school nutrition directors, but it’s an excellent resource for parents, too. This guide helps bring together all aspects of school food safety that need to be considered when serving food in schools. It’ll help you become aware of regulations, ask good questions, and take action on anything you feel isn’t up to snuff.
Then, reach out to your legislators today and urge them to take action on regulations you’d like to see tightened up to help prevent foodborne illness in schools. For inspiration, read the story of Tyler and his mother, Cheryl. As an 11-year-old, Tyler ate a contaminated, undercooked burger at his school that caused horrific pain and health problems, including life-threatening kidney failure. In her testimony to government officials, Cheryl laid out 4 key steps she felt needed to be acted on ASAP.
For questions and personal assistance, please contact Stanley Rutledge, Director of Constituent Services, at email@example.com.