The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide • The National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools

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Food Safety for Families

Prevent foodborne illness at home

Families must make sure that food that comes into school from home—for lunches, celebrations, or other events—is safe. The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide urges families to follow these simple but critical recommendations. Details, tips, and resources to help implement each recommendation are outlined in the Action Guide’s in-depth modules.

  1. Encourage handwashing and model appropriate food-safe behaviors. Let your children see you washing your hands properly before meals, before preparing food, and after using the bathroom—and teach them to do the same. Proper handwashing means scrubbing for 20 seconds with soap, rinsing in warm water, and drying well.
  2. Properly prepare and pack food for school. Take the simple steps necessary to prevent foodborne illness by preparing and packing foods to be consumed at school. Ask your child’s school to provide safe food handling recommendations to students, staff, families, and volunteers at the beginning of each school year.
  3. Learn the causes and symptoms of foodborne illness. Watch for symptoms, which range from slight discomfort to more serious problems such as diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.
  4. Seek medical care when your child or adolescent has a gastrointestinal illness.
  5. Notify the school of your child’s or adolescent’s gastrointestinal illness, particularly if a diagnosis of a foodborne illness has been made.
  6. Advocate for food safety policies and procedures in your child’s or adolescent’s school. PTA, PTO, and other meetings are good places to advocate for policies and resources to improve food safety.

The Fight Bac!® Partnership for Food Safety Education has information and resources at

New Team Member Resource Available! Check Out the Team Member In-Depth Modules

Learn more about your role in ensuring a food-safe school and find useful tips and resources to help you implement these recommendations. Check out the special families and students how to section (Word document).

Check out the Web sites below for more great resources.



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