Food-safe schools address a broad range of topics beyond the scope of what may be required by legislation. These requirements start with building and supporting strong food safety policies and procedures, and continues with education and training. All employees that handle and serve food require training on basic food safety principles and on their role in applying these principles. They also need ongoing education to practice behaviors, reinforce concepts and learn about new developments. Developing plans, policies and procedures are also an important part of building food-safe schools. These policies and procedures will establish expectations for creating a culture of food safety and create a food safety blueprint for the entire school community.
All schools will be required to follow the basic food handling principles listed below and on the following pages when handling or serving food at school. This applies to all programs where food may be prepared, handled or served including, but not limited to: breakfast/lunch programs, lifeskills, canteens, community use rooms and home economics.
- Food Handling Certification: The school division will require all staff handling or serving food to have a current food handling certification training. Certification is good for 5 years.
- Certificates must be laminated and posted in a conspicuous area where food is being prepared. If this is not possible the school must keep an up to date copy on file.
- Breakfast/Lunch Programs: These school programs may require a permit from the Health Department. The menu plays a huge part in determining the risk associated with these programs. Menu’s that contain potentially hazardous foods will require the school to complete a registration form from Manitoba Health to determine if a permit will be required for the program.
- Complete the Manitoba Health Department registration application for a permit. Registration forms can be found on the Health Protection Branch Website.
- The registration form must be accompanied by and provide information on the menu, food source (where you are purchasing/buying from), where the food is being cooked, number of people attending, and how the function will be set up (refrigeration, hot/cold holding, hand washing, etc.).
- Programs serving processed prepackaged foods will not be required to obtain a permit. Examples include: oatmeal packages, cereal, granola bars, yogurt, individual fruit cups, etc.
- Where a permit is required it must be posted in a conspicuous area where the food is being prepared. If you are not sure if a permit is required please contact the Health Inspector or the divisional Safety Officer for assistance.
- Students are not allowed to handle/prepare/serve food in any programs where food prep/handling/serving is required.
- Staff working in these areas must have a valid food handler’s certification and practice safe food handling.
- To contact a Health Inspector please use the following link: District Public Health Inspector.
- Large School or Community Events: If your school is hosting a large community event (such as pancake breakfast, BBQ, meet the teacher dinners, parent dinners, etc.) where food is involved, the school will be required to complete a registration form from Manitoba Health. Schools that do not wish to go through this process can have their event catered, use a food truck, etc. In these situations the caterer would then become the permit holder. For Schools that wish to go through the registration process you must do the following:
- Review the Temporary Food Service Establishment Guideline.
- Complete the application for a permit for a temporary event. The permit form can be found on page 8 in the Temporary Food Services Establishment Guideline above.
- If issued, the permit must be posted in a conspicuous area where the food is being prepared. If you are not sure if a permit is required please contact the Health Inspector or the divisional Safety Officer for assistance.
- Reminder that community events held at the school must also follow the fire code requirements for set up of tables chairs: Plan for Non-Fixed Seating in Assembly Occupancies.
- Please also refer to the Manitoba Health: Community Dinner Guideline.
- Human Ecology (Food Labs) & Lifeskills Programs: These school programs require a particular set of procedures, equipment and supplies in order to be compliant. All foods labs have been updated with a commercial dishwasher and sanitizer dispenser at each sink.
- Bake Sales/Home Baked Food Items: This includes bake sales, potluck lunches, teacher appreciation lunches (provided by parents), etc.
- These functions can continue to be held in schools however they can not include any potentially hazardous foods or food allergens. Foods containing eggs, dairy or wheat are a little harder to avoid or cook without so these items must be clearly labelled as such due to potential food allergies.
- Examples of acceptable items: cookies, cakes, cupcakes, dainties, etc.
- It is good practice to ensure that everyone knows that the products are being brought in from staff or parent home kitchens.
- Items must also be identified as to which home they came from in the event there is a complaint or other issue.
- Students/parents that would still like to participate in these events should be made aware of safe food handling requirements.
- Cafeteria and Canteen Services: All school cafeterias and canteens require a permit, issued by the Dept. of Health to operate. Where a school has a cafeteria contractor, the contractor is the permit holder and must meet the permit requirements. Canteens that serve anything other than prepackaged foods will be required to go through the registration process with Manitoba Health, as indicated above. In middle schools and elementary schools where students may be working in a canteen, all food preparation must be done by a certified food handler.
- Additional Requirements: include hand washing, food thermometers, refrigerators, dishwashers, tea-towels and dishcloths, etc. Please see the attached link.
- Safe Work Procedures: all procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, food handling must be followed. Procedures can be found on the links below:
FOOD HANDLING CERTIFICATION TRAINING:
Although several companies offer food handling certification training the Department of Health only recognizes certain trainers. For a list of recognized trainers please see the link below for the Health Protection Branch. Due to the high number of staff that will require training this year (2017) the school division will be offering classes this fall. Please see the divisional Safety Officer for training dates.