Eggs for School Lunch? Remember the Safety Rules.

Considering a school lunch containing eggs or something prepared with eggs? The important thing to remember is to keep it cold.

An egg salad sandwich, for example, should be refrigerated at all times, so always pack a lunch in a cooler or insulated lunch pail with a freezer pack or sealed bag of ice. You might consider freezing a sandwich the night before you pack the lunch. Also, tell the kids to store the lunch container out of the sun and away from a heat source.

Leftovers from the lunch should not be kept as an after-school snack. If you’re unsure how long the food has been at room temperature, it’s best to throw it away.

Worried about using mayo in the lunchbox?  Mayonnaise sometimes gets a bad rap on the food safety front. While many people may assume it is the cause of food-borne illness, doctors remind us that mayo itself does not cause food poisoning.

The culprit is bacteria that grow best on foods that contain protein and are at temperatures between 10 and 140 degrees. The greater risk for developing bacteria are foods commonly mixed with pasta, potatoes, tuna or eggs for picnics and such. But even those are safe if kept cold – below 40 degrees.

Food safety experts say the use of pasteurized eggs and highly acidic ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice, which slow or prevent bacterial growth, makes commercial mayonnaise a safe product. The food safety myth surrounding mayonnaise is associated with the home-made variety, which almost always calls for raw eggs. So go ahead and spread that commercial mayonnaise on your school lunch sandwich!