Public School Food Service Checklist

This is the second of four Safety Tips, devoted to improving the quality of public school food service. The suggestions offered can be found as part of the NJEA/NEA ?Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools? action kit. Use of the kit will help local associations take leadership in helping to provide a safe, comfortable, and productive school environment. The kit isn?t just for food service operations. This kit covers all public school areas where we find students and staff. For further information about the kit, contact your local NJEA/NEA UniServ Office.


A clean kitchen with food stored in secure containers discourages vermin. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices minimize the need for pesticides and discourages pests by eliminating food sources, pathways, and shelter they need. A qualified, trained, district Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Coordinator can help you and your fellow staff members learn more about IPM. If your district has no IAQ Coordinator, or similarly assigned staff member, then contact your UniServ representative for guidance on obtaining help.

1. Check food preparation, cooking, and storage areas regularly for signs of insects and vermin.

  • Look for dead insects and/or rodents
  • Look for feces
  • Notify the IAQ coordinator if insects or vermin infestation is discovered

2. Confirm that appropriate food preparation, cooking, and storage practices are implemented.

  • Review food handling and storage practices
  • Confirm that all containers are well sealed
  • Check that no food traces appear on the outside of the containers

3. Maintain general cleanliness

  • Dispose of food scraps properly and remove all crumbs
  • Wipe counters clean with soap and water and/or disinfectant, according to school policy
  • Sweep and wet mop floors to remove food
  • Clean stoves and ovens after use

Job time on task is necessary and crucial in the quality performance of the above steps. If no or little time is provided, negative health consequences will result for staff and students.