When packing the lunch bag or school box, remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

Hot foods must be stored at a temperature above 140 degrees F. Cold foods must be stored at a temperature less than 40 degrees F. Swift-Eckrich foods, makers of Butterball Slice `N Serve meats and cold cuts, provide the following food safety suggestions:COLD FOODS

- Pre-chill a vacuum thermos with cold water, cover and let stand five minutes. Empty the bottle, shake out the excess moisture and immediately fill with the cold food, such as milk or yogurt.

- Include an ice pack or a gel freezer pack in your lunch bag. You can make your own ice pack by cleaning out a plastic butter or margarine tub, filling it with water and freezing it.

- Carry chilled foods in an insulated lunch box or bag. Foods will keep much longer in the containers than in a paper bag.

- Refrigerate your sandwich until it's time for lunch. Some ingredients such as meat, poultry, fish or eggs can spoil if left at room temperature for more than two hours.


- Follow vacuum container instructions for appropriate temperatures of foods going into the container.

- To preheat a vacuum container, fill with clean hot water and let stand a minute or two. Empty and immediately fill with hot food.

- Use a stainless steel or glass-lined vacuum bottle instead of a plastic-lined one for hotter and safer food.