Food Safe Schools Program
NEHA’s Food-Safe Schools (FSS) Program with the support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA/FNS), Kansas State University Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs, and other partner organizations is dedicated to improving the health, education, and well-being of young people. Many NEHA members are state and local environmental health (EH) and food safety (FS) regulators whose responsibilities also include school inspections. EH and FS professionals interact with school nutrition/food service professionals before, during, and after inspections and emphasize food safety education as well as following food safety requirements and principles. This role as food safety regulator and educator gives NEHA members a specific and unique connection with schools.
Culture of Food Safety
NEHA works with USDA/FNS to collaborate with school nutrition/food service departments to promote food safety practices. EH/FS professionals who conduct school food safety inspections have an opportunity to foster and strengthen their relationship with school nutrition/food service personnel and provide education and resources to promote a culture of food safety.
Food-safe schools take a school-wide approach to food safety, and with the help of partners in the school community, create a culture of food safety. Food-safe schools have two main ingredients.
- They are built on comprehensive procedures, policies, and plans that address the science of food safety.
- They address people’s behavior to encourage the use of food safety procedures, policies, and plans.
Food-Safe Schools Action Guide: Creating a Culture of Food Safety
The Action Guide will assist schools in: reviewing their current food safety efforts, taking action to build food-safe schools by addressing important areas of food safety, and communicating with the school community to create a culture of food safety. A “culture of food safety” is thinking of the school community’s behaviors and beliefs about food safety. There will be a culture of food safety when food-safe behaviors are second nature to the members of the school community—the school nutrition team, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students—and these behaviors are consistently practiced to help keep students healthy and safe.
The Action Guide addresses food safety requirements for the National School Lunch Act, a school food safety program based on HACCP principles, training and education, employee health and personal hygiene, produce safety, managing food allergies, food defense, responding to food recalls, and responding to a foodborne illness outbreak.
Food-Safe Schools Program Resources