Field trips are an exciting way to show students real world education. If food is transported on the bus for lunch or snacks, temperature control is important to keep food safe. Research shows the importance of this risk.
The study looked at sack lunches in coolers with either no ice or one layer of ice in four different locations. The food used included turkey sandwiches, sliced apples, and baby carrots. Then the coolers were exposed to simulated temperatures on the bus. The lunches were inoculated with bacteria and tested for growth at different time periods and in different areas of the cooler. The results showed that foodborne illness is low risk when lunches are held under temperature abused conditions on a bus up to four hours.
The best practice is to use plenty of ice in coolers to keep food cold. Plan the field trip so that food is eaten within four hours to reduce temperature abuse and bacterial risks. Always wash your hands before handling food and before eating. Always pack food properly whether it need to be cold or hot.
Source: Food Protection Trends, Jan/Feb 2019