BROOKLYN - With the start of school only weeks away, officials are warning parents that packing a lunch from home may not be the safest thing.

Researchers say that food in a lunch box may be harboring dangerous bacteria due to improper handling.

They say that food should be kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce bacteria growth.

"Bacteria doubles every 20 minutes," says David Saraco of Coney Island Hospital. "So from the point it's made to the time the child eats it, we could be talking about thousands of millions of live bacteria."

Officials say parents should ask if the school has a refrigerator that their child can store their lunch until lunchtime or to use ice packs to keep the food cold.