Kids lunchboxes pose a huge health hazard as one in five found to be contaminated with a food poisoning bug.
An investigation revealed school kids who carry popular fabric lunch bags are most at risk from infection as the material is difficult to keep clean, the Mirror reports.
According to tests on 15 lunchboxes at a primary school in Bath, Somerset, almost three quarters were mouldy leaving kids at risk of eczema, asthma, coughs and itchy eyes.
But worryingly, it was the presence of bug Staphylococcus Aureus in a fifth of the lunch containers that will cause the biggest concern for parents as it can cause food poisoning.
Normally found on skin, hair and in noses the bacteria can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, stomach pains and mild fever if food has touched dirty hands or surfaces or not been properly chilled.
Similarly Enterococci – a bacteria that is usually found in our bodies rather than on food – was detected in a fifth of lunchboxes and is another cause of food poisoning.
While Staphylococci is a common bug and carried harmlessly by around one in three people, the NHS warns that eating food contaminated with the bacteria can cause health problems and urges those preparing food to always wash hands with soap and water before handling it.
The research was carried out by makers of bug busting e-cloth and spokesman Laurence Smith said: “The high volumes of non food-borne bacteria suggests that we aren’t washing our hands before we pack or eat from our lunchboxes.
“It also shows that we aren’t cleaning them properly either, which is allowing mould to spore and bacteria to grow.
“They might look clean, with their shiny interior, and often, all we’ll do is shake out the crumbs but there is an underworld of invisible germs growing that we all need to be aware of.”
Experts say parents should clean fabric based lunch bags every day.
As Nikki from MoM says, “I’m guilty of the ‘shake it out’ tactic! But man, just ANOTHER thing to feel guilty about not doing.”
How do you ensure the kids’ lunchboxes are kept germ free?
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