Food Safety for the Office

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: April 7, 2015

Packing your lunch for work is a great idea. It can save time and money, as well as provide a healthier option to the cafeteria’s cheese steak special. However, if food is not stored properly, all efforts for a healthier lunch can be instantly wiped away.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods suggest six safety tips to stay healthy while dining at work:

  1. Avoid Spoilage—It is easy to throw some carrots, celery and a container of last night’s leftovers into a lunch bag before heading to the office. But foods that require refrigeration can spoil if left out for more than two hours. Try to prevent this by placing your lunch in the office refrigerator as soon as walking in the door, or pack your lunch in an insulated bag with an icepack to prevent spoiling. To learn more please visit
  2. Set Refrigerator Protocol—Many companies require that their employees label and date their food before placing it in the refrigerator. If your office does not require this policy, start a trend! Most perishable foods expire just three to five days after being prepared or purchased. By labeling and dating foods, employees will know to steer clear of the three-week-old dip that is in the back corner. Remember that dairy and meat products will be the first to perish. An alternative is to enjoy non-perishable snacks, such as almonds, dried fruit or granola bars, which may sit at your desk without refrigeration.
  3. Clean the Microwave—Everyone hates the spaghetti sauce and pea soup splattered microwave. Avoid an unnecessary mess by covering all food prior to placing it in the microwave. If a mess is made while heating your lunch, promptly wipe down the microwave while the food is easy to remove.
  4. Steer Clear of Sponges—Harmful bacteria can camp out in the sponges that often take up residence next to sinks. Avoid using them, unless they are replaced frequently. Instead, opt for a paper towel with hot, soapy water to avoid bacteria.
  5. Stay Stocked—Keep a stock of hand sanitizer, labels for leftovers, and disinfecting wipes to assist in preventing the spread of bacteria throughout the office. Proper food safety requires preparation and supplies.
  6. Manage Carry-Out—Ordering take-out is inevitable. Plan to eat the food as quickly as possible to prevent food borne illness or place it in the office fridge until a window of opportunity arises to eat your lunch.

For more information on programs and services designed to help your company promote health and wellness, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.

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