Media Release

september 30, 2011

Be food safe when packing lunch

The Regional Municipality of York offers tips on safe food handling to avoid illness
NEWMARKET - The Regional Municipality of York reminds residents to follow four simple food preparation steps to eliminate harmful bacteria and reduce the risk of food-borne illness, also known as food poisoning.
Packed lunches can be nutritious and convenient. Follow these simple tips to help minimize the risk of food-borne illness:
Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often and wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly
• Ensure all food packed in a lunch bag is properly cleaned
• Wash all fresh fruit and vegetables under cool water, including those with uneaten skins and rinds
• Use food-grade containers and wraps to minimize potential contamination
• Ensure lunch bags and containers are clean and in good repair
• Wash out the interior of reusable lunch bags and drink bottles everyday – rinse thoroughly to remove soap residue and air dry
Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate
• Ensure lunches made ahead of time are stored in the refrigerator away from any raw meats
Cook: Cook food to a safe internal temperature
• Use a probe food thermometer to check the internal temperature of cooked food to ensure that it has reached proper final cooking temperature - you can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks
• Ensure leftover meals are reheated to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) or hotter – leftovers should be used within two days of their original preparation date
• Keep cooked food hot for lunch by storing it at temperatures 60°C (140°F) or hotter – use a properly insulated thermal container and follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use
• Never allow food to sit at temperatures in the Danger Zone – between 4°C (40°F) and 60°C (140°F)
Chill: Refrigerate promptly and cool foods quickly
• Store perishable meats and dairy products in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after preparation
• Keep the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or below
• Use ample ice packs in lunch bags to ensure food is kept cold and out of the Danger Zone
• Discard leftover perishable food left in lunch bags for more than two hours if it has not been stored at temperatures 4°C (40°F) or colder
Common symptoms of food-borne illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache and fever. If you think you may be experiencing food-borne illness, seek medical attention.
For more information on this or any other health-related program, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, York Region
 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 • After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 •

Founded in 1971, The Regional Municipality of York is made up of nine municipalities
and provides services to more than one million residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees.

 For more information visit us at Follow us on : York Region   @YorkRegionGovt  
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