At a recent staff meeting, teachers were asked by Principal Donna Levy to remind students that having food dropped off is a health code violation, as the front desk staff is not responsible for ensuring food items are maintained at the proper temperature.
“We get inspected by the Health District on the fly,” Principal Donna Levy said. “The Health Department said that if we were to accept food at the front desk, we would have to have a heating and cooling mechanism. If the food was hot it would need to go into the heating mechanism and if the food was cold it would need to go into the cooling mechanism.”
Between answering phones, directing students, assisting administration and helping parents sign out students, the front desk staff does not have time to preserve the quality of the food.
“Our staff at the front desk would need to check the food every 15 minutes–if the food at any point lost temperature, the food would need to be disposed of,” Levy said. “It’s just way too much work for the people at the front desk and we cannot afford to put in a heating and cooling mechanism. ”
All schools are required to follow the health code regardless if they are properly equipped for food drop-offs or not.
“There is a temperature danger zone which is 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit,” Culinary Program leader Ruben Munoz said. “If the food falls between that range, it starts developing pathogens and causes food-bourn illness.”
In order for students to avoid getting their food thrown away, they should remember to bring in their food before school and keep it with them or in their locker throughout the day.
“If I were to change the rule I would say that if the parents are the ones bringing in the food, the student must go up to the office as soon as possible and they are then responsible for it for the rest of the day,” junior Darmi Effo said.