Food Safety in School Foodservice Operations: A Review of Health Inspections in the State of Missouri

Soojin Lee, Pei Liu

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 154-163, May 2020

Volume 40, Issue 3: Pages 154–163

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Foodborne illness is a growing health concern, endangering many people in the state of Missouri, U.S. This study focused on assessing the frequencies of the most common food violations in schools, using a review of health inspection data. The present study analyzed publicly available health inspection reports from a total in 509 schools in 28 counties in Missouri. Among the various types of health inspections, the routine inspection was the one most frequently conducted at schools. The top three critical violations found at schools were food temperature control for potentially hazardous foods, improper equipment usage, and misuse of poisonous and toxic materials. For non-critical violations, the top three violations were related to improper equipment usage, physical facilities, and equipment for holding food at a given temperature. The results showed that more non-critical violations than critical violations occurred at schools. One-way ANOVA revealed significant differences, particularly in non-critical violations, among the thirteen different types of schools. The study indicates that school foodservice management needs to improve food safety practices by focusing on preventive training, ServSafe certification, and personally conducted inspections. Hence, this study provides practical recommendations and identifies areas that should be improved, which could result in preventing foodborne outbreaks and reducing the number of food code violations detected during health inspections.

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