Safe Bag Lunches

bagged lunch


These foods... must be kept cold are safe at room temperatures
Meat, Poultry, Fish,
Dry Beans,
Eggs and Nuts Group
  • Any meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cooked beans, or sandwiches; salads or other dishes made with these foods
  • Processed meats (bologna, hot dogs, etc.)
  • Tofu, other soy products or other meat substitutes
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Dry soup mixes
Milk, Yogurt and
Cheese Group
  • Milk and milk drinks
  • Custards and pudding
  • All foods containing cheese (like pizza and casseroles)
  • Yogurt
  • Unopened shelf-stable milk and unopened shelf-stable puddings
Vegetable Group
  • All cooked vegetables
  • Sprouts
  • All raw vegetables
  • Unopened vegetable juices
Fruit Group
  • Cut melons
  • All fruits
  • Unopened fruit juices
Bread, Cereal, Rice and
Pasta Group
  • Cooked pasta, rice and other cooked grains or cereals
  • Any salads, soups or dishes made with cooked grains
  • Bread and crackers
  • Cookies
  • Dry cereals
Fats, Oils and Sweets
  • Gravy and sauces
  • Mayonnaise
  • Butter
  • Candy
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Margarine, oil
  • Fruit pies
  1. Keep foods safe.
    Use the "Safe Bag Lunches" chart to see if the foods in your lunch need to be kept cold.
  2. keeping cleanKeep everything clean when you make your lunch.
    • Wash your hands before handling food.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables.
    • Wash utensils and containers thoroughly with soap and warm water, and rinse after each use.
  3. insulated lunch bagKeep foods cold so germs won't grow.
    Refrigerate foods as soon as you get to school or work. If there is no refrigerator, use an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack or frozen juice box. Place foods that must be kept cold closest to the cold pack.
  4. Reheat foods thoroughly.
    If you use leftovers, make sure that you pack and keep them cold. Cook foods thoroughly. If you use a microwave, use microwave-safe containers.


  • on the internet visit
  • call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-800-535-4555