Custom Bags: The Dangers of Cooler BagsRobert Thomas
During the scorching summer months, it sounds pretty tempting to chill out and keep as cool as possible, an idea which is also applicable to your lunch. Before you go off the walls with weird techniques of keeping your food cold and safe, you should always keep food safety in mind.
Because when you keep your lunch in a bag, bacteria can start growing if the temperatures inside the bag linger between 40F and 140F. Ideally, you should always keep your packed lunches below the 40F mark to help avoid health dangers. According to FoodSafety.gov, different foods have different safe food storage temperatures.
It can be hard to gauge the temperature of your food when it comes to lunchtime, which means that your best defense against the idea of your food becoming dangerous is to keep foods as cold as possible before they are packed into cooler bags.
Tips for Safely Packing Cooler Bags
· Invest in good quality printed cooler bags that can retain the chill inside for at least 6 hours.
· Perishable foods should be packed into the cooler bag directly from the freezer.
· Cooler bags that are fuller will retain their cold temperatures for a longer period, keeping the food safer for extended periods of time compared to half-full bags. If you’re not filling your cooler bag with food, fill the remaining space with ice packs to help keep the temperature inside of the bag as low as possible.
· Foods should be stored in watertight containers to help prevent contact with melting ice water, which can pose serious health risks.
· If you’re packing perishable foods such as eggs, cheese, yogurt, or luncheon meats, pack them with at least two other cold sources. Bacteria can quickly multiply, in which case foods that are transported without any ice sources won’t stay safe for long.
· Meals that are packed one night ahead of time should be stored inside the cooler bag inside of the fridge, overnight.
· If you’re packing water of juices into the cooler bag, it should be frozen before being packed into the bag. Frozen beverages can double up as extra freezer packs in the bag and keep the food safer.
· Do not re-use disposable packaging. We all love the idea of reusing and repurposing, but when it comes to plastic bags and containers that were designed to be used once only, it’s no time to be thinking green. Even if you plan on washing these containers with warm water and soap will not mean that they are germ-free or safe to use in the future. Rather just discard them as soon as lunch is done and dusted.
· Foods that are high in protein are also bacteria magnets. These foods include eggs, fish, chicken, meat, and yogurt. If these foods are being packed into a cooler bag, they should be eaten first.
We hope that this article has been informative and has helped you see how easy it can be to pack safe lunches in a cooler bag. For more information on the topic, feel free to check out Eat Right’s lunchbox safety article.