To avoid poisoning from spoiled foods, brown baggers should take note of the following safety tips:
Chill foods thoroughly and then carry them in an insulated lunch box or bag -- especially if you leave your lunch in a vehicle, where temperatures can reach well above 120 degrees.
Use chilled ingredients to make sandwiches.
Freeze sandwiches; they will thaw by lunch time. Simple sandwiches freeze best, such as those made with peanut butter, sliced meat or poultry, or sandwiches made with mixtures that don't contain mayonnaise-type salad dressings or hard-cooked eggs. Carry lettuce, tomatoes and dressing to add to sandwiches later.
If possible, put the lunch in a refrigerator until lunch time. Sandwich fillings made with meat, poultry, fish or egg can spoil if kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
To keep cold foods cold:
Use a vacuum bottle for milk, yogurt or other fluids that need to be kept cold.
Include an ice pack or gel freezer pack in the insulated lunch box or bag.
To keep hot foods hot:
Preheat a vacuum bottle by filling it with clean hot water and letting it stand a minute or two. Empty, and then fill with hot foods.
Use a stainless steel or glass-lined vacuum bottle, rather than a plastic-lined one, for hotter and safer food.
One final reminder -- always be sure to prepare lunches in a clean work area and thoroughly wash your hands before preparing all food.
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