Most School Cafeterias Make the Grade - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/19/02 - Smith County

Most School Cafeterias Make the Grade

It is a daily ritual for countless kids everywhere. And parents trust that the lunchroom is safe and clean. The health inspectors like Brenda Elrod with the Smith County Public Health District make sure it is.

"They have to keep everything hot enough, cold enough, clean enough, and sanitized," she says.

And when it comes to those critical problems, they are few and far between at schools.

"Thirteen percent had some sort of critical violation noticed. When you look at the restaurants, you have 87 percent had violations noted," she says.

There were two critical problems at Owens Elementary in Tyler on September 12th. The score was a 94, but roaches were seen in a restroom, the food prep area, and storage. And, there were rodent droppings.  An exterminator was immediately called, and no recheck was ordered.

Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons says the district goal is to score 100 percent, and that they strive to reach it on every inspection. Many schools in Tyler and elsewhere in the county reached the mark... in fact, the vast majority.

"The people who work there take a real pride in their work, and they know how many kids they're going to serve every day. But there are a bunch of them, so they serve, get it in there, and get it prepared in a sanitary manner."

While kids think they're invincible, they're in fact, still very fragile.

Elrod: "We do talk about a highly susceptible population, and that would be your smaller children, your older population, so we do look a little harder at our schools."

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