IDC releases School Food Facts: Providing Transparency for School Cafeteria Inspections
New York, NY – Senator Jeff Klein, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and members of the Independent Democratic Conference unveiled a new, online transparency system where parents will be able to search for cafeteria health code inspections.
“Parents should never be left in the dark when it comes to the health and safety of their children. I’m proud that by working with the city, parents will now have information on inspections at their fingertips and they can be the arbiters of what grade their child’s cafeteria deserves,” said Senator Klein.
“We remain dedicated to providing students with healthy meals in cafeterias that are clean and safe,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Families are critical partners and making cafeteria reports available online will provide communities with an additional level of transparency.”
"Parents of students who depend on their school cafeterias for breakfast and lunch deserve to know the conditions of the facilities where their food is prepared. This new easy to use system will allow for greater transparency and help ensure that cafeterias are clean and sanitary. Today's announcement is a great victory for New York City parents," said Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn).
“New York City’s children deserve the same peace of mind and cleanliness that restaurant patrons expect. I applaud Senator Klein and Chancellor Fariña for their efforts to ensure the health and safety of our children, who are the future of New York City,” said Senator Marisol Alcántara (D-Manhattan).
“Giving parents accurate information serves as an important safeguard for all our students. This new system delivers the transparency and the up-to-date information parents need – providing reassurance and allowing parents to voice their concerns about any shortcomings. This step opens an additional avenue to parent participation to the benefit of all,” said Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn)
“Providing healthy and quality meals to our students is a key part of a school day, and this is why parents should know what their kids are eating. I support this initiative by Senator Klein and the Department of Education,” said Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens).
"Transparency is crucial across all aspects of life. The fact that parents can now see the conditions of their child's cafeteria will allow parents to know that when their children are at school they are not being exposed to unsanitary conditions,” said Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens).
Parents and guardians will be able to access the reports by the start of the 2017-2018 school year online at www.schoolfoodnyc.org. They will also receive copies of health inspections and steps taken to remedy violations.
Senator Klein passed S.4173A, which requires the New York City Department of Education to post cafeteria health inspection data online and send secondary notices home with students. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Queens) sponsors its companion bill in the Assembly, is expected to pass by the end of session.
The IDC also released “School Food Facts: Providing Transparency for School Cafeteria Inspections,” illustrating the need for this method of transparency.
Schools sometimes receive violations that wouldn’t necessarily lead to a bad letter grade, but would certainly be of interest to parents. For example:
- At one Brooklyn school staff failed to adequately wash their hands, and discovered old food encrusted on preparation equipment and fruit left out without proper covering.
- Schools that receive violations for storing foods like milk and fresh vegetables in temperatures too high — a common violation —would not score enough points for this singular violation to yield a bad grade.
- Conversely, foods like macaroni and cheese and hamburgers that must be kept at high temperatures are sometimes not, leading to a violation.
- At one school in Queens toxic chemicals were stored in the food preparation area. Through the new transparency method, parents would immediately learn of the finding.
Schools work with the City’s Department of Health to correct the violations. Parents would be made aware of corrective actions through transparency measures.