Keep that back to school lunchbox cool with an ice brick or frozen water bottle (17 January 2017)

Media release:17 January 2017

The Food Safety Information Council, in partnership with Tonic Health Media, today released its back to school lunchbox food safety advice to always include a frozen water bottle or ice brick.

Council Chair, Rachelle Williams, said that school lunches are much healthier these days, compared with the stale white bread sandwiches we used to have, but these healthier foods can support the growth of bacteria if kept above 5°C.

‘Research by our member the NSW Food Authority, which was done on hot summer days, has shown that bacterial growth is much slower in school lunch boxes if a frozen water bottle or ice brick is included,’ Ms Williams said.

‘Our research shows that 94 per cent of households with children pack school lunches, but a quarter of those don’t include an ice brick or frozen water bottle. We urge parents to simply add one to keep their children’s lunch safer,’ Ms Williams concluded.

Here are 5 simple lunchbox food safety tips:

  1. When buying lunchboxes choose ones that have room for a frozen drink or freezer block and are easy to clean and dry.
  2. Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing food.
  3. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  4. Make sure lunchbox foods are always well separated from other foods in the refrigerator, particularly raw meats, chicken and fish.
  5. Keep the lunch cool in the fridge until you are ready to leave home.

The Food Safety Information Council would particularly like to thank Tonic Health Media for their support in getting our important food safety messages out to patients and their carers as they wait for GP appointments and other health services

The Food Safety Information Council is a health promotion charity and Australia’s leading disseminator of consumer-targeted food safety information. The Council aims to address the estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year that result in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors on average each year.

NSW Food Authority lunchbox research

More lunchbox safety advice

Media contact:

Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688 or