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Actions for the Food Service Staff

  • In the cooking area, make sure that local exhaust fans work correctly, and use them whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning. Fans can prevent moisture from building up and keep odors from spreading. Get fans that are excessively noisy repaired – this can mean that the fan is not working properly, and it is also less likely to be used.
    • Check for airflow when fans are on (hold a piece of tissue paper near the fan to see if it is pulled toward the fan).
    • Check for cooking odors or smoke in areas near the cooking preparation, and eating areas.
  • Check to make sure gas appliances are working correctly and are vented outdoors. If there are combustion gas odors, headaches when gas appliances are in use, or natural gas odors at any time, get appliances checked promptly.
  • Clean the kitchen after use.
    • Check for signs of mold, slime or algae, even in hard-to-reach places such as the upper walls and ceiling. Clean affected areas as needed. If biocides are used, choose only products registered by the EPA for such use, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Inspect kitchen area for plumbing leaks, including sink faucets and under sinks. Look for stains or discoloration, and/or damp or wet areas. Have leaks and damaged materials repaired, cleaned or replaced promptly.
  • A clean kitchen with food stored in secure containers discourages insects, rodents, and other pests. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices minimized the need for pesticides and discourage pests by eliminating the food sources, pathways, and shelter they need.
    • Check food preparation, cooking, and storage areas regularly for signs of insects and other pests. Look for dead insects or rodents, and their feces.
    • Maintain general cleanliness. Food containers should be well-sealed, with no traces of food left on outside surfaces of containers. Wipe counters clean with soap and water or a disinfectant. Sweep and mop floors to remove food. Clean stoves, ovens and other cooking equipment after use.
    • Place waste in appropriate containers and locations. Containers should have lids that close securely. If possible, food and food-contaminated items should be separated from other wastes. Dumpsters should be placed well away from air intake vents, operable windows, and food service doors.
  • The kitchen is often the busiest part of the school for deliveries. Because fans are exhausting air from the kitchen, air and exhaust from a nearby loading dock may be drawn into the kitchen. These exhaust fumes can be very irritating to those in the school with asthma. Post a sign prohibiting vehicles from idling their engines in the receiving area, and ask drivers to turn off their engines if they don't follow the sign’s directions. In addition, smoking should not be allowed near receiving areas.
  • Require staff to wear non-latex gloves when preparing and serving foods.
  • Make sure that the ingredients in all foods served by the cafeteria are posted/published and/or have a complete ingredient list available for interested families.
  • Other links that you may find useful:

    Food Allergy Research & Education

    Kids With Food Allergies – Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America