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Sack lunches causing health scare for preschoolers, new study says

Monday, August 8, 2011 - 9:30pm

TYLER - You try your best to keep your kids healthy, to send them off with food that's not only good tasting but good for them.

A new study says many pre-schoolers lunches are reaching temperatures that allow bacteria to grow.

"If I mix up a tuna sandwich and send it school, they need to eat it in the next four hours or throw it away."

Brenda Elrod works for the Northeast Texas Public Health District in Tyler. She says there are a number of concerns parent should be aware of before sending their kids off to school with that sack lunch.

"If that sandwich had bacteria in it, in that four hours it could start growing and you could have a problem."

Problems, according to a new study like food bourne illnesses. The study says the unsafe tempeture for kids lunches is anything that sits for hours at a time between 39 and 140 degrees fahrenheit.

Some lunches are safe, the study says, if they're eat in immediately after they are cooked, or if refrigerated. Peanut butter and jelly for example is typically ok, experts say, but the problem is meat, in that it can be a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria at the right tempeture. So if your feeling helpless Elrod says there is something you can do to make sure your kids sack lunch is as healthy as possible.

"For parents they need to double check what time their children eat their lunch and then they need to pay attention to how they prepare their lunches if they're going to pack sack lunches plan to chill them. If they're going to send something that was hot they need to pack it in a thermos that would keep it hot."

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