Some school cafeterias not being inspected

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Day Care & Education

Would you eat in a restaurant that wasn't inspected regularly by the Health Department? Would you let your kids? According to the US Agricultural Department, millions of children are doing just that, eating in school cafeterias that are not being monitored for violations that could result in food poisoning.

School cafeterias are required by congress to be inspected twice yearly, but of the 94,132 schools reporting for the 2005-2006 school year, only 61% of schools met that requirement. Almost 30% were only inspected once and 10% percent were not inspected at all. These inspection rules apply to schools that participate in the federal school lunch program, which is nearly every public school in the US. Of the 60 million students attending these public schools, half of them eat a lunch that was prepared at their school.

These missed inspections are not the fault of the schools themselves; state and local health authorities are charged with this task and many health departments are understaffed, especially those in small towns and rural areas. School cafeterias are not the only facilities missing required inspections. The recent spate of food poisonings in products such as peanut butter is another indication that the Food and Drug Administration isn't doing its job. According to a recent AP analysis, their inspections have fallen off by half between 2003 and 2006.

I personally am disgusted by the lack of attention being paid to food safety in the US. I want to feel that I can trust my government to keep the food I feed my family safe, but I just don't. It seems to me that eating in America is becoming a risky proposition.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.