26,500 school cafeterias across the nation failed to be inspected

Legal news for personal injury attorneys. School kitchens across the country do not get inspected, leading to food-borne illness outbreaks.

Personal injury attorneys alert- Food-borne illnesses like norovirus are arising in school cafeterias because of failure to meet required inspections.

West Palm Beach, FL— A total of 26,500 school cafeterias across the nation are lacking in cafeteria inspections as required by the Child Nutrition Act, which has led to many outbreaks of illnesses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/ norovirus has caused nearly one-third of the 23,000 food-borne illnesses contracted in schools from 1998 through 2000, which accounted for 7,500 sick kids, as reported by USA Today.

Over 8,500 school cafeterias neglected to have their kitchens inspected last year, which is required by the Child Nutrition Act guidelines. Another 18,000 didn’t completely full-fill the requirement of having their kitchens inspected at least twice a year, as required by the mandate of the National School Lunch Program. The lunch program supplies food to 31 million students across the U.S., and supplies nearly every school in the nation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) http://www.usda.gov/, who oversees the lunch program, stated it is nearly impossible to enforce the guidelines. Although inspections are apart of the guidelines of the lunch program, the law does not state any consequences of failure to adhere to the requirement.

According to federal data, over half the schools in eight states, which includes California and New York, did not meet the requirement for two inspections during the 2007-08 school year. In Maine, less than 1% of schools met the requirement from 2007-08. The purpose of the cafeteria inspection requirement is to ensure that the kitchens and employees follow and meet safety and sanitary requirements, which ranges from checking food temperatures to wearing gloves. Shockingly, USDA officials cannot state what schools have had their cafeterias inspected, and which ones haven’t. The USDA doesn’t require states to provide the names of the schools inspected, only the number of schools.

For example, in April 2007, 91 people got sick at Central Junior High School in East Peoria, Illinois. Upon investigation, it was revealed that the norovirus was the probable cause. At the same time, 136 students at Augusta Middle School in Augusta, Kansas also got sick from the norovius when they ate the school lunch. Another food-borne illness outbreak occurred at New Brighton Area Elementary School in Beaver County, Philadelphia. Twenty-eight students were sickened and one was sent to the emergency room from a salmonella outbreak, which was traced back to the sweet tea.

One of the issues is that cafeteria workers usually earn low wages, work only part-time, and may not get sick time. This makes it difficult to keep cafeteria workers home when they are sick for fear of loosing much needed pay, which causes them to come to work when they are ill.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for personal injury lawyers.

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