Food preparation in the school environment is often unregulated. While many states have mandatory food licensing and/or inspection requirements, most states do not regulate preschool and school lunch programs, or they simply fly under the state’s radar.

The purpose of food service monitoring really comes down to five basic risk factors that exist in the preparation and delivery of food services.

The Five Risk Factors

  • Unsafe food source
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Contaminated equipment
  • Inadequate cooking
  • Improper holding temperatures

When monitoring a child care food service operation, monitor for the obvious visual issues as well as ones you cannot see. Bacteria are microscopic and, depending on time and temperature, can either thrive or not. Since we can’t see bacteria, you must rely upon time and temperatures regulations to determine if food is safe to eat.

Basic Guidelines

  • Remember to have your thermometer calibrated, cleaned, and ready for use.
  • Wear your hairnet and beard net if applicable.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before beginning.
  • Model the behavior you expect of your kitchen staff!.