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Critical violations, investigating yor school

Dateline NBC examined critical violations -- the ones that health departments across the country say can make children sick.

  • These violations include:
  • Rats, mice and roaches in cafeterias
  • Meat not cooked at the proper temperatures
  • Foods not kept at the right temperatures on the serving line
  • Toxic materials, like those used for cleaning, not labeled and stored properly
  • Cafeteria workers not washing their hands
  • Cafeteria workers with illnesses working on the food lines
  • Unclean food preparation areas, utensils and equipment
  • Food unprotected from cross-contamination

How can you find out about your school?

In most places, the agency that checks your school cafeterias is your local health department. In some cases, restaurant and cafeteria inspections are done by other agencies.

Above is a link from the Centers for Disease Control that can help you get started checking out your own school. Not every local health department keeps a website that lets you look up your local school.

If your local health department does not post results on its website, you can call or visit its offices to get reports.

In some cases, you may need to make a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking to get the documents under your state or local open records laws. These are easy to file. Write to the local agency, note that you are requesting the documents under open records laws, and list the schools for which you want information.