Government inspectors in charge of checking kitchens for cleanliness and safety often find that school cafeterias have fewer violations than other food preparation locales.
Maybe that’s because school kitchen workers are often veterans who know the drill, says a story in the Duluth News Tribune.
“Typically, schools are pretty good inspections for us,” Brian Becker told the paper. He’s an environmental health specialist with the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services. “They are well-trained, maintained; they’ve had their staff for a while. Oftentimes in other industries in food, you’ll see a higher turnover.”
Inspectors check the schools twice a year. Hand washing is always stressed.
Other things they look for in schools, Ryan Trenberth, supervisor of the Duluth District Office of the Minnesota Department of Health, told the paper:
- Dented cans: “There’s a possibility that it’s dented for a reason. There could be botulism (a rare but serious illness caused by bacteria that lives in improperly canned or preserved food) or something growing in there that created the problem with the can, or the integrity of the can could be compromised.”
- Dishwashing water not sanitized enough: “This is the last step we have before food will contact (dishes), possibly. If it hasn’t been cleaned properly with sanitizer on top of regular cleaning, it gives us extra security.”
- Dishwashing water not hot enough: “The temperature is (also) a sanitizer.”
- Milk served at 50 degrees instead of the required 41 degrees: “It would give time for any organisms to multiply, produce toxins or create sickness.”