Part 2: Is Your School Cafeteria Making The Grade?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert
Headline Goes Here

HOUSTON - KPRC Local 2 took its weekly Restaurant Report Card to school cafeterias Wednesday night to show you what health inspectors are finding in the kitchens that cater to your children. Thursday morning, KPRC Local 2 consumer investigator Amy Davis was back at it with more school cafeterias that just didn't make the grade.

Just like at restaurants, health inspectors show up at school campuses unannounced, looking for violations that could make your child sick.

Inspectors deemed 11 pounds of food and milk at the Houston Independent School District's Gallegos Elementary "not safe for human consumption" because it was stored at the wrong temperature.

At Daniel Ortiz Middle School, inspectors asked employees to clean the spilled food and black, sticky substance around the dumpster.

At Fort Bend ISD's Blueridge Elementary, inspectors said the milk was off temperature, too warm and potentially hazardous.

At Spring Branch ISD's Bendwood Elementary, there was slime in the ice machine.

"We love these kids. We don't want anyone getting sick," said Beverly Hills Intermediate cafeteria manager Debbie Murray.

Inspectors found no violations in Murray's kitchen.

We're also doling out A's to Humble ISD's Kingwood Park High School, Aldine ISD's Bethune Elementary and Fort Bend ISD's Christa McAuliffe Middle School for spotless inspections.

We did reach out to all of the schools or school districts in our report. You can read the statements we received from each of them below:

Fort Bend ISD Statement regarding a City of Houston Health Inspection on Sept. 14, 2011 at Blue Ridge Elementary School:

"The health and safety of our students is our district's highest priority, and the district routinely reviews its health standards and departmental procedures to make sure it is in compliance with all Health regulations. If a related issue comes to the district's attention that needs to be addressed, the staff acts promptly to make any changes according to health regulations and departmental procedures.

"The temperature of milk in the food service line:

"All cold, potentially hazardous food products, such as milk, needs to be kept below 41 degrees to prevent bacteria growth. The milk in the coolers at Blue Ridge Elementary was 38 degrees while the milk on the serving line should have been 41 degrees, but it was 48 degrees. This variation can happen with the milk stacked in the milk box on the serving line as the air flow is not completing surrounding the containers of milk at the top to keep the temperature constant. According to the health regulations, food products can be 'off temperature' for up to four hours before the food product becomes a health hazard and needs to be discarded. The milk was not off temperature for even an hour; therefore, it did not pose a health issue but, it was not maintained according to regulations, departmental procedures and expectations."


Spring Branch ISD Communications:

"The issue was corrected immediately by Child Nutrition Services staff who, between 8:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on the day reported, removed all of the ice and then cleaned and sanitized the equipment with the inspector present. After this was done, the machine was released for us. The inspector left at 10:15 a.m. with all equipment involved approved for use.

"Let us know what is possible or what to expect in the broadcast. "


Houston ISD:

"Serving safe, nutritious and quality food is our top priority. HISD Food Services has ongoing, rigorous training and quality assurance processes to ensure we meet very high standards for each of the 270,000 meals served daily in the district?s 284 school cafeterias.

HISD Food Services has an internal Department of Quality Control/Assurance that conducts comprehensive food safety inspections at each campus throughout the school year. Additionally, the city of Houston Health Department inspects each campus a minimum of two times each school year. These proactive inspections are reported weekly for follow-up and potential issues are immediately addressed and corrected. All cafeteria managers are certified in food safety by the city of Houston Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, while not required by the city of Houston, the majority of all food service employees are also certified in food safety.

The District regards the Quality Control inspections as an extremely valuable tool in assuring the safety and well-being of all students.

Brian Giles Senior Administrator, Food Services Houston Independent School District

If you have a news tip or question for KPRC Local 2 Investigates, drop them an e-mail or call their tipline at (713) 223-TIPS (8477). Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.