According to Massachusetts state law, local health inspectors are required to inspect a school cafeteria at least twice a year.
Western Mass News learned that not every health inspector is complying with that, and some of the findings show years-long public health concerns from rodent control to cross-contamination.
In November, Western Mass News requested the reports from 2013-2017 from every school in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.
Some of the most common violations include dirty dishes, rodent control, and food stored at the wrong temperatures.
Violations like these can all lead to health concerns, according to a local doctor. "So that's a problem with staph and also salmonella," said Dr. John Kelley with Redwood Pediatrics. In 2017, 10 schools in Franklin County had at least one violation.
16 schools in Hampshire County had at least one, too.
In Hampden County, where there are the most schools out of all three districts, there were 59 schools with at least one violation in 2017. "Even one violation is one too many," said Azell Cavaan, Spokesperson for Springfield Public Schools. Western Mass News reviewed hundreds of documents from Springfield Public Schools which showed 44 of their 50 schools had at least one violation in 2017.
"We stand proud of the hard work that we do to make sure that our kids get safe food," said Cavaan.
From missing inspection reports, to kitchens where milk is held at a temperature too warm to be safe, these documents reveal a lot about what's going on inside your child's school cafeteria.
Watch Western Mass News tonight at 11 p.m. to find out what those violations mean and how they could become a public health concern.
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