More than two out of three desktop diners bring perishable food items for lunch, including sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and leftovers* - which can spoil if left unrefrigerated for more than two hours. Help your brown bag go the distance by storing it in the office fridge as soon as you get to work. No fridge at work? Pack your lunch in an insulated lunch bag and throw in an ice pack to keep foods cold. (Or, as an alternative, try using a frozen water bottle - it works just as well as an ice pack and doubles as a refreshing noon-time drink).
According to the ADA survey, 44 percent of office refrigerators are cleaned only once a month, and 22 percent are cleaned just once or twice a year. Yet most perishable foods have a shelf life of just three to five days! Don't wait for the clean-up crew to throw out your leftovers: Label and date your food and make sure to toss it in a timely fashion.
More than half of all employees (53.4%) say the microwave in their office kitchen is cleaned only once a month or less - possibly leaving dried-up, splattered sauces on the inside walls. Be courteous when microwaving meals by keeping food containers covered. And if food splatters, wipe down the microwave immediately, while the food is still easy to remove.
When it comes to washing dishes at the office, nearly one in three people uses a "community sponge" to clean their plates...a potentially dangerous habit if sponges aren't properly maintained. A damp, smelly sponge is a clear sign that harmful bacteria are lurking inside, and simply rinsing a sponge with water isn't enough to keep it clean. Don't use the kitchen sponge if it's not replaced frequently. Instead, use paper towels and always wash dishes in hot, soapy water to keep bacteria at bay.
Make the most of your desktop dining experience by stocking up on these essential food safety supplies:
When bringing carry-out back to your desk, don't wait too long before eating it or you could put yourself at risk of foodborne illness. If a looming deadline is unavoidable, put your lunch in the office fridge until you're ready to eat.