Ratings identify food safety problems

New York State Sen. Jeffrey D. Klein announced a proposal to apply the restaurant letter grading system to school cafeterias. Like public restaurants, cafeterias are subject to inspection by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Some school cafeterias are in horrible health conditions. For example, in the Sixth Avenue Elementary School in Greenwich Village, animal droppings were found in the kitchen area.

Students who attend public school can either bring food from home or pay ahead to receive a meal from their school cafeteria. With limited choices, it is crucial that parents of schoolchildren are aware of the level of cleanliness exhibited by their school’s cafeteria. With the implementation of the letter system, poorly maintained cafeterias will hopefully be shamed into improving their kitchen facilities.

At the very least, parents will be aware of the conditions within the cafeteria and be able to send their children to school with a bagged lunch instead, if necessary. Schoolchildren and their parents deserve the same level of transparency from cafeterias as the public receives from normal restaurants. Society has a responsibility to look out for its young people, so officials should work on providing healthier breakfast and lunch options to schoolchildren.

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