Buy School Lunch For Your Child? Time To Think Twice...
Out of date food, rodent problems, moldy milk dispensers, food in the temperature danger zone. This isn't a restaurant or food cart; it's the condition of many Oregon school cafeterias throughout the state. The Salem Statesman Journal conducted an investigation of Oregon's 196 school districts and the health reports of their cafeterias.
The investigation showed that most districts do a fine job of maintaining proper health standards, and quickly fix any issues that may arise. But some schools had been cited a number of times for health violations.
Here is an excerpt from the Statesman Journal about the conditions found in Oregon area cafeterias:
• Signs of rodents were noted at schools in several districts, including Silverton, Banks, Centennial, Eugene and Portland.
“There is reported rat presence in this school,” wrote a health inspector at Eugene’s Edison Elementary School. “The school kitchen is not constructed tightly enough to prevent the presence of rodents. Seal off all doors and also conduit holes in kitchen area walls and ceilings. This is a repeat violation."
• Pink slime and mold were found in milk machines and ice machines in more than a dozen schools in districts including Beaverton, Corvallis, Eugene, Hillsboro and Oakridge.
“… Much slimy mold noted, mold will grow quickly inside this cooler. This is not adequate for milk storage. There is a critical violation here because the whole inside of this cooler is a food contact surface,” an inspector at Eugene’s Howard Elementary School wrote in February. “Replace with an adequate cooler that will be sanitary to keep milk. This needs to be done right away.”
• Broken equipment was among the most-cited problems.
In a number of schools, dishes were not being rinsed at a temperature high enough to kill germs. Other schools had problems with their handwashing sinks.
And at Yoncalla Elementary, inspectors found that sewage was able to back up into the produce washing sink.
The lack of care in these situations is amazing. Thousands of students eat school lunches each and every day, and because of a lack of attention to the little things in one of the most important areas of the school outside of the classroom. your kids are now at risk of contracting food-borne illness. My hope is that this report exposing the offending schools will give them the kick they need to fix the issues immediately, and then make the health conditions of the cafeterias their number one focus.