Desktop Dining

Contributors: Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
woman eating at desk - Desktop Dining

Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Thinkstock

Do you eat at your desk? You're not alone. Millions of Americans consume breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks at their desks.

Keep your brown bag safe and help prevent foodborne illness at the office by following these simple food safety tips.

Office Essentials

A well-stocked office doesn't stop at staplers and tape. Protect yourself from foodborne illness by keeping your office stocked with these food safety supplies, too:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes or paper towels and spray cleanser
  • Insulated lunch bag with freezer pack if a refrigerator is not available
  • Labels for leftovers
  • Refrigerator thermometer (make sure your office fridge is set properly below 40ºF)
  • Food thermometer (always reheat leftover lunch foods to an internal temperature of 165ºF).

Food Safety in the Workplace

Give bacteria the pink slip the next time you desktop dine by following proper food safety tips:

  • Wash hands before and after digging into your desktop dish. If you can't get to a restroom to wash hands with soap and water, keep moist towelettes or an antibacterial hand cleaner at your desk.
  • From the time you make your lunch at home — assuming it contains perishable food items — don't let more than two hours pass before you put it in the refrigerator. Also, don't let lunchtime leftovers remain unrefrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Keep perishable foods properly refrigerated below 40ºF.
  • If you carry your lunch in a reusable tote or insulated bag, don't forget to wash it frequently.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave, not on the countertop.
  • If you bring leftovers for lunch, reheat to the proper temperature of 165ºF.
  • Don't forget that the same food safety tips apply to carry-out and fast food, which also can be susceptible to bacteria if not handled properly.

 These recommendations are also available as a Desktop Dining Tips Sheet.

Download this Office Safety Memo to share tips for keeping the office fridge safe.

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