Cockroaches commandeer Orlando school kitchens
Posted: April 30th, 2011 - 5:23pm
Inspectors have found infestations of German cockroaches in or near the cafeterias or kitchens of 22 Orange County public schools.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that students at many of the schools are eating cold lunches prepared in a central kitchen while the facilities are cleaned and debugged. While the cafeterias are closed, students at 12 of the schools have been eating under outdoor tents or in their classroom, said district spokeswoman Kathy Marsh.
Although school food facilities are inspected every four to eight weeks, the cockroach infestations were missed during daytime inspections, she said.
"Unacceptable" levels of bugs at 22 schools were found during nighttime inspections of all 188 Orange schools Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Most infestations were in the kitchen, the cafeteria or both, but a few schools had bugs in a storage room or bathrooms near the cafeteria.
Mike Eugene, chief operations officer for the district, said each of the 22 schools had dozens of cockroaches, though none had contaminated food. The school district has set up a 24-hour hotline — 407-318-3030 — which will operate through Sunday night, so that parents can get inspection updates on their child's school.
He called infestations at 22 schools "an unacceptable number," though the schools had passed health inspections.
Eugene said he and other managers did the inspections, and some food in dry storage had to be thrown out. He said the German cockroaches are resistant to the pesticides the schools had been using.
In the future, regular inspections will be done at night, Marsh said. One school, Memorial Middle, has been cleared of bugs and lunches are being served as usual again, she said.
The school district began the inspections after WKMG-Channel 6 in Orlando took administrators an undercover video of cockroaches at Pineloch Elementary.