Tips To Keep Food Safe

Food poisoning is never fun and young children are at a higher risk than adults. 

It is important to ensure your child’s lunchbox stays cold (or hot) at school. Take special care with high-risk foods like meat, fish, milk, dairy products and eggs. 

Follow these top tips to ensure the lunchbox is kept safe all day long. 

  • Did you know that lunchboxes packed without an ice brick reach temperatures of 12 degrees warmer than those with an ice brick? They also grow more than four times the amount of food bacteria. 
  • Lunchbox food safety is so important. Don’t forget to pack an ice brick! 

  • Be prepared and invest in an insulated lunchbox or cooler bag.

  • Freeze water bottles or reduced fat milk poppers to use as an ice brick in the lunchbox. This is a great way to keep food cold, fresh and safe. As the drink melts it will double as a refreshing drink. 
  • Use frozen bread to make sandwiches. It helps keep the lunchbox cool and will be defrosted by lunchtime. 

  • Store the lunchbox in the fridge until you leave the house for school. Make it the last thing you grab before you run out the door. 

  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing the lunchbox. 
  • Ensure lunchboxes and containers are washed daily, properly dried and kept clean. 

  • Look for a good quality thermos as they will keep food hot for longer. 
  • Heat the food to very hot before placing in a pre-heated thermos. 
  • Don't forget to pack a fork or spoon. 


Disclaimer: Serving hot foods at school can carry a risk of scolding and burns if the flask is not used appropriately. The decision to send hot foods to school in a flask will vary with each child and may be determined by your school 

Project Partners

SWAP IT was developed by NSW Health and the University of Newcastle. Implementation support provided by the following partner organisations as part of externally funded scale-up trials:

Whilst brands may be depicted in these images and videos, SWAP IT and Good For Kids has no affiliation and do not endorse any specific food brand. We do not warrant that the information we provide will meet individual health, nutritional or medical requirements, or individual school policy.

Artwork: "The heart of a child" by Lara Went, Worimi Artist.