As directors, you not only have to plan menus and supervise, you have to implement and maintain food safety. Food safety is highly monitored by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and an important part of your administrative review.
On top of that, local health departments have standards that must be met as well.
Every meal served in a school kitchen has the potential to pose as a food safety incident, so it is important you take extra measures to ensure the health and safety of your students.
Why Is Food Safety Important?
As stated in the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide, “To promote food safety, the National School Lunch Act requires that schools have a food safety program. The food safety program must be based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 clarified that the food safety program requirements based on HACCP principles must be applied to any location where food is stored, prepared, or served as part of school nutrition programs; not just the cafeteria.”
Beyond the requirements, any school nutrition program should look at addressing food safety in their school kitchens.
Industry often provides tools to make things easier for your district or organization. We’ve used an app created by Cambro that helps to simplify aspects of safety in your kitchen.
Cambro’s app is available for download: The Campbro App, which provides access to key tools and resources on the go!
This includes a section on food storage instructions. You simply click on a fruit or vegetable and it will walk you through the safest way to store it. Below is the app when apple is selected from the list. Not sure how to store your dark green, leafy vegetables? Use Cambro to get quick, reliable tips!
Tips for Success:
- Create a food safety plan
- Require all kitchen staff to hold a food safety certification
- Implement SOP for all areas where food is prepared, served, and stored
How can Health-e Pro Help?
Health-e Pro offers easy-to-use tools that can help significantly when it comes to food safety in your school kitchen, while reducing waste. Unsure which tools to use and for what purposes? Here are a few that might help:
- Time & Temp log: Within the production module, the time & temp log is available to record multiple times and temps of your choosing. These can be printed within the production report.
- Pre-loaded HACCP/prep instructions for food type: When creating recipes, it is important to list the HACCP process along with any critical control points or instructions. We provide pre-loaded templates for food categories to help cut down on time spent on data entry.
- Usage Report: The Usage Report calculates prepared numbers and leftovers over a specific amount of time, which will help reduce waste.
- Waste column: Also within production, while leftover numbers are required, you have the option to further break those numbers down into waste-letting you know the status of those items.
After learning about ways to make food safety a priority and how identifying waste can help regulate it, below is a simple table with recommended leftover time. How long can your leftovers last? How are you storing them correctly?
View the table below from food safety to see storage time for a food category:
A combination of Health-e Pro, reports, technology and continuing education can make food safety in school kitchens easy.