How Safe is the Food Served in our Schools?

We all want our children and grandchildren to be safe when they attend school.

But news headlines cause concern: “Workers blamed for food poisoning at Waipahu Elementary School”, “Questions Remain over Hollister High School Illness Outbreak”, “Food Poisoning Outbreak at Stanford — Norovirus Suspected”, ”Investigation Continues into what Sidelined 58 Teachers in Catered Luncheon.

For school administrators, teachers, parents and grandparents the headlines raise doubt.

USDA
Source: USDA

What is the frequency of these outbreaks?

In a 2016 CDC report there were nine outbreaks in 2014.

In the most recent CDC report August 2017 there were 16 food borne illness school outbreaks with 622 illnesses. While the reports are based on data that is two years old this is an increase from the previous year’s report.

What are deeper root causes?

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Our Children are at Great Risk of Food Poisoning

It is challenging enough to take care of a sick adult, but when children get sick, dehydrated, need intravenous fluids and look like near death, it is heart wrenching.

As an ER physician, I have taken care of many sick kids. Most of my colleagues would agree that comforting the crying child and sometimes the crying parents, attempting to draw blood or start an IV is really emotionally draining.

Unfortunately, according to a 2011 CDC report, children aged younger than 5 years continue to have the highest rate of food borne infections. Nationally every year there was 1 infection per ~ 1500 children.

Continue reading “Our Children are at Great Risk of Food Poisoning”

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