Studies show that children get approximately half of their food in a day from schools. Because of this, school foodservice providers need to pay special attention to food safety, nutrition and allergen awareness–especially with the state of the world right now. A nutritious diet will keep students more alert and will help them fight off illness. Developing healthy habits at a young age sets a foundation for healthy habits later in life, too. Practicing food safety and allergen safety should be at the forefront of school foodservice providers’ minds as we enter this new school season.
While studies show that COVID-19 cannot be transmitted via food, foodservice providers need to be extra cautious how they prepare and serve food. Their main focus is to get healthy food to kids safely so no one is at risk, so taking extra care when preparing food is essential. Foodservice providers should be monitoring their temperatures and their symptoms as they get to work, and if they are exhibiting any COVID symptoms, they should quarantine as recommended. Good overall hygiene and hand hygiene is essential. Workers should not be touching their hair, face or clothing and then immediately prepping food. Hands should be washed in-between all new tasks and after eating meals, taking bathroom breaks or touching the face/hair/body. Foodservices employees should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves. Avoiding cross-contamination is also important, especially when considering the potential for students to have food allergies.
With the potential for many kids to take their school lunches at home due to COVID, foodservice providers may have to take a different approach to ingredient and allergen labels. School foodservice professionals face the unique challenge of keeping meals nutritious and safe. Placing a food label, such as those printed by the Date Code Genie®, on all items is a great solution whether students are in school or at home come this fall. The Date Code Genie prints labels that can be customized to your needs and include ingredient lists and allergen lists. Printed at the touch of a button, the system can be managed from one centralized building or another adjacent location. The easy process gives school foodservice workers the chance to place more focus on keeping children safe.
Whether or not schools will be in-person come this fall or not, school foodservice providers will still be working to get lunches out to children. Proper food safety measures and the Date Code Genie labeling system will ensure kids are able to focus on their studies and stay healthy.