Desktop Dining - Food Safety Survival Tips that Work Overtime
Information provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health and Home Food Safety
Be the boss of your brown bag with these simple food safety tips.
- Get Hands-on Experience. Fewer than half of all Americans say they always wash their hands before eating lunch. *The rule of thumb: always wash hands before, during and after handling food. No time to wash with soap and water? Keep your desk stocked with moist towelettes or hand sanitizer.
- Be Proactive. The average office refrigerator is cleaned only once every six weeks - more than enough time for its contents to spoil. Don't wait for the office clean-up crew, toss your leftovers within three to five days.
- Watch the Clock. If you've packed perishable food items such as meat and cheese sandwiches, leftovers, salads or dairy foods for lunch, don't let more than two hours pass from the time you make your lunch at home until you put it in the office refrigerator
- Limit Lunchtime Lingering. If you have lunchtime leftovers, refrigerate them promptly below 40 degrees as soon as you're finished eating - don't keep them at your desk all day, where they may develop harmful bacteria.
- Review the Refrigerator. Not sure what the temperature is in your office refrigerator? Stick a thermometer in the refrigerator and check to make sure it's set below 40 degrees F. (Your co-workers will thank you!)
- Micro (wave) Manage. If leftovers are your "bag" when it comes to lunch, be sure to re-heat them to the proper temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the countertop.
- Check Your Sources. Nearly three out of five Americans who work in offices where food is left out to share indulge in these social snacks at least once a week. *If food is perishable, find out how long it's been sitting out before you dig in. If it's more than two hours, you may want to take a pass.
- Follow through with Fast Food. Don't forget that the same food safety tips apply to carry-out and fast food, which also can be susceptible to bacteria if not handled properly.