In a nullshell: When packing meals to schools and workplaces, make sure they are stored or transported at safe temperatures. Make shelf-stable choices if temperature control is not possible.

Packing meals to schools and workplaces is a common practice for us to enjoy homemade dishes conveniently. However, these meals may be stored or transported at unsafe temperatures for some time before consumption, making them susceptible to contamination and harmful bacterial growth. If these meals not stored properly, disease-causing bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels or produce toxins, leading to food poisoning.

However, certain venues such as schools may not have access to refrigeration or reheating devices. Therefore, it is important to implement appropriate measures based on the setting where the meal is consumed to ensure food safety.

General Advice

Adhere to the "Five Keys to Food Safety" in the course of meal preparation and during transportation:

In addition, please observe the following advice:


Nitrite in Pre-cooked Vegetables Stored Overnight – Should I Be Concerned?

Vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet. There have been concerns about the potential health risks (e.g. nitrite produced by bacteria) associated with consuming pre-cooked vegetables left overnight. The Centre for Food Safety conducted a risk assessment study on the nitrite levels in cooked vegetables. The study found that no nitrite was detected in the cooked vegetables that were stored at refrigerated temperatures (0 to 4°C) overnight, whereas the nitrite level increased in cooked vegetables left at room temperature.

Therefore, if packing pre-cooked vegetables, proper storage at safe temperatures is the key to inhibiting bacterial growth and subsequent nitrite formation in cooked vegetables.

Packing, Transportation and Storage

Tips for Using Insulated Containers

Insulated containers such as insulated bottles and meal boxes help to maintain food at a safe temperature. In general:
Some examples of shelf-stable foods that you can consider for packed meals:


Relevant Information