Food Safety – Desktop Dining Edition

Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern

Americans are getting busier and busier! It is rare that we stop to eat a mindful meal, and often eat at our desks while working. Although not ideal, this is the reality for millions of Americans. If you are going to eat at your desk, it’s important to be aware of food safety in order to prevent foodborne illness.

Stock Up

Keep your office stocked with food safety essentials such as hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, a refrigerator thermometer, a food thermometer, ice packs, and an insulated lunch bag.

Check the Temperature

Place a refrigerator thermometer in the workplace fridge to make sure that the temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below at all times. Use your food thermometer to make sure your reheated leftovers reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.


Wash your hands with soapy warm water before and after eating your lunch. If you cannot get to a restroom, use hand sanitizer or moist towelettes. If you use a lunch bag, be sure to wash it frequently.

Proper Thawing

During preparation, thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave. Do not let sit out on the countertop.


Keep your foods stored below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not let more than 2 hours go without placing your food in the refrigerator or in an ice-pack insulated lunch bag. This goes for when you are preparing your lunch and for when you are eating it.

Material adapted from

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