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Safe Workplace Dining

Many Americans regularly eat lunch and snacks at their workplace. Some have designated lunchrooms, but many of us regularly eat at our desks- including me!

By following a few simple, common sense food safety tips, you can safely dine during work hours. First, wash your hands properly and often!

Keep Cold Foods Cold:

  • Use the refrigerator to store your lunch and snacks
  • If there isn’t a refrigerator, use an ice pack or frozen water bottle
  • Keep food out of the “Danger Zone” (41-135°F) for longer than 2 hours

Refrigerator Safety:

  • Label and date your food and leftovers
  • Throw away your foods that are over 3-5 days old
  • Wash and sanitize the interior of the refrigerator on a regular basis

Microwave Oven Hints:

  • Keep all foods being cooked or reheated covered
  • Immediately wipe down all splatters
  • Wash and sanitize the interior of the microwave on a regular basis

In The Break Or Lunch Room:

  • Do not use sponges, which are a breeding ground for germs
  • Use disposable paper towels
  • Wash dishes in hot soapy water, rinse, sanitize and air dry

Food Safety Tools to Keep On Hand At Work:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Washing your hands and all surfaces with warm, soapy water is best, but if that is not possible at least use hand sanitizer and/or disinfectant wipes.
  • Paper Towels
  • Spray Disinfectant
  • Labels for foods and leftovers
  • Marker
  • Refrigerator Thermometer-make sure your office refrigerator is set properly below 40®
  • Food Thermometer- always reheat leftover lunch foods to an internal temperature of 165®

If You Take Your Lunch To Work:

  • Wash your lunch container and thermos in hot soapy water every day
  • If you use a brown paper bag, purchase lunch size bags and use a clean bag each day
  • Pre-heat thermos with hot water before filling with hot liquids
  • Pre-chill thermos with ice water before filling with cold liquids

Desk Drawer Food Storage Hints:

  • Snacks and foods may attract pests to work areas
  • Periodically clean and disinfect desk top, drawers, table tops and other work surfaces
  • Keep only a limited supply of individually wrapped, single serve portions of snacks in your desk drawer, purse, briefcase or backpack

Happy, food safe office dining!

Women eating at her desk

Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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