Millions of meals are served to students in schools across Canada every year. And every year staff find more creative ways to serve meals to meet the needs of their students and community, such as breakfast in the classroom, breakfast on the bus, mid-morning nutrition breaks, lunch, after school snacks and supper at school. Food preparation also occurs in other areas such as life skills (for students with special needs), community use rooms, canteens, as well as Home Ec. rooms.
Due to the number of staff preparing foods as well as the numerous locations these foods are prepared in, there is a significant potential for food safety incidents, such as a food borne illnesses, that may occur from time to time. When these incidents occur, there can be serious consequences for children and staff and people may get seriously ill. Therefore the safety of the food that we serve must be given top priority.
Pembina Trails school sites must apply a preventative approach to food safety by adopting a food safety culture. A culture of food safety is attained when food-safe behaviours are second nature to the members of the school community – the nutrition team, school administrators, teachers, parents and students – and these behaviors are consistently practiced to help keep students healthy and safe.
Creating this culture occurs by not only knowing which practices are important to keep food safe (e.g. temperature control of food), but also why these practices are critical (e.g. food held out of temperature can grow microbes that can make your students sick). Some of the most important responsibilities regarding food safety are to know and implement the provincial and local public health regulations, maintain up-to-date knowledge about food safety and teach school employees and students about good food safety practices. School administrators are responsible for the health and safety of students and staff in their schools and by placing food safety high on their list of priorities, others will follow their lead.