Unsafe Lunches

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011 - 8:14am

A new study finds food that sits in a lunch boxes all morning can get warm enough to encourage bacteria growth.

A news study finds food that sits in lunch boxes all morning can get warm enough to encourage bacteria growth, even when packed with ice packs.

"Parents are thinking that based on packing the lunches with ice pack is helping, but actually it's melting in a couple of hours," said Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Laura Jeffers

Dr. Jeffers says the bacteria growth could be enough to make kids sick.

"They're going to be ingesting food that bacteria has been growing on, so they could become ill, they could you know have vomiting or diarrhea," said Dr. Jeffers.

Researchers measured the temperatures of more than 700 preschoolers' sack lunches about an hour and a half before lunch was served.

Above 90 percent of the lunches with perishable food were found to be at an unsafe temperature.

Bacteria can grow when perishable food reaches temperatures of over 40 degrees.

The average temperature for such foods had climbed to more than 60 degrees by lunchtime.

"Along with putting ice in there, if you freeze the drinks, it'll help keep things cold," said Dr. Jeffers.

Nearly 40 percent of the lunches that were studied, parents had not packed any ice packs at all.

 

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