Sack Lunches: Unsafe Temperatures for Your Preschoolers

A recent study has been released regarding safe and unsafe temperatures of preschool children's sack lunches.  MSNBC and the Today show have provided some information about this today. 

Here are some take-away bullet points:

  • Where did the study take place?  Texas Child Care Centers
  • How many lunches were tested? 705
  • Were there icepacks in the lunches?  45 percent  had at least one ice pack
  • What is the "unsafe" range?  "Unsafe,  as the researchers defined it, was anything that sat for more than two hours between 39 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit" (Carroll, 9 out of 10 preschoolers' lunches reach unsafe temperatures)
  • How many were in the "safe" range after testing?  Refrigerated: 1 percent, Room Temperature: 2 percent
  • What does this mean?  When food gets into the "unsafe" range foods are more perceptible to bacteria which creates foodborne illnesses. 
  • Do we know what the consequences are and what kind of diseases the preschoolers are at risk for?  No, the gap in the study is determining the actual risk of foodborne illness and what that illness might be that the children are being exposed to.
  • Food for Thought.  If this information concerns you, these might be some ways to address it...
    • Make sure the sack lunches go into the fridge when the children are dropped off at the center.     
    • Choose a child care that participates on the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
    • Put more icepacks in your child's lunch
  • Read the entire article here:  9 out of 10 Preschooler's Lunches Reach Unsafe Temperatures

Your Turn:  What do you think about this article?  Tell us in the comments section!

  Some parents think it is a little over the top according to the MSNBC article cited here.  Are you going to take this into consideration when you are packing your child's lunch?  Are you a child care operator?  Are you going to be sure to put those lunches into the fridge right away?  Are you going to participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and provide meals at the child care and get a partial reimbursement?


Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building