US: Benefits of fresh cooking in schools, and food safety
Posted: August 31st, 2011 - 7:05pm
Source: The New York Times
To the Editor:
Re “School Districts Rediscover Value of Fresh Cooking” (news article, Aug. 17):
Congratulations to the Greeley, Colo., school district for training its kitchen staff in “scratch cooking.” All kids, especially those in need, deserve healthful, tasty food at school.
Greeley is fortunate to have some existing infrastructure and private support to institute these changes. Unfortunately, many children in need nationwide live in districts that can least afford these innovations.
Toni Liquori New York, Aug. 17, 2011
The writer is executive director of School Food Focus, a program of Public Health Solutions.
To the Editor:
That some schools are once again actually cooking in cafeterias is great for kids and for parents concerned about nutrition. But as schools move away from overprocessed, shrink-wrapped fare, they need greater resources, newer equipment and important training to ensure food safety.
Schools buying raw meat need to ensure thorough cooking to avoid pathogens like salmonella and E. coli, and cafeteria workers must be trained in proper cooking, handling and storage of foods, just as in a restaurant kitchen.
School districts will need to make money available for increased inspections, and for the equipment (meat thermometers, refrigerator thermometers, hand-washing sinks) necessary for safe food preparation.
Parents should check to see if schools have inspection reports available for review (required by law). Cooking at schools will be great for kids, but we must ensure that these healthier school lunches are safe lunches, too.
Sarah Klein Staff Attorney, Food Safety Program Center for Science in the Public Interest Washington, Aug. 18, 2011