Some Preschools Ban Bento Boxes Because Moms Care More About Being Adorable Than Sanitary
Some Japanese preschools are banning adorable little bento box characters in kids’ lunches over concerns that the time it takes to form the little characters may contribute to food contamination and poisoning. Also, they aren’t convinced the moms are prepping the lunches with gloves on. Basically, your adorable little bento-person may be a breeding ground for bacteria and competition.
The bento box lunches are called “Chara-ben.” Their contents are shaped like adorable little characters. Some of these lunches are unreal:
I can barely slop peanut butter on a piece of bread in time in the morning. I really need to get better at managing my time. Anyway, the preschools are worried about the large number of times the food needs to be touched to achieve the above results and also how long the food needs to be left out, potentially making it a breeding ground for bacteria. The rest of us who just throw a sandwich, a juice box and an apple into a bag and call it a day can actually applaud ourselves for the wonderful food-safety mission we’ve accomplished. Yay, us.
In addition to the concern over food safety, some schools claim the projects are becoming competitive and also sources of bullying. From Rocket 24 News:
As a mother-son project, one woman decided to try her hand at making a Winnie the Pooh rice omelet with her child. As we’ve seen before, though, chara-ben don’t always go so smoothly. When lunchtime came around and the son opened up his bento box, the child sitting next to him laughed at the misshapen Pooh Bear peeking out, causing the woman’s son to burst into tears. The school has since asked parents not to drop their kids off with chara-ben.
Competitive food? No thanks. There are plenty of other opportunities for small children to be jerks. My mom used to drop me off at school with the same sandwich every day: toasted wheat bread with butcher-cut salami and mustard. Do you know what happens to toasted bread after it sits around for a few hours? It’s rock-like. It was like two pieces of wood with giant slabs of salami in it that were almost impossible to bite through. Nobody cared. Nobody cared about what your lunch looked like back then. I guess I’m retro in that way. I will not be composing these things for my children, ever.
I’ve accidentally done something right again.