The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide • The National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools

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Administrator Superhero

Food Safety for School Administrators

Keeping students and staff healthy and safe

Ultimately, administrators are responsible for the health and safety of students and staff in school. The best way to prevent foodborne illnesses is to make sure everyone who prepares, serves, or eats food in the school environment takes steps to keep it safe. And that means everyone, from parents who send in snacks prepared at home, to cafeteria workers who serve lunch or breakfast, to teachers who plan celebrations with food, to the students who must wash their hands. The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide urges administrators to follow these simple but critical recommendations.

  1. Work with the Food-Safe School Team to develop policies and procedures to ensure that all food stored, prepared, served, or consumed at school is as safe as possible.
  2. Incorporate food safety into a crisis management plan that incorporates components both within and outside the school.
  3. Develop, in consultation with your local health department and relevant school staff (e.g., the school nurse and food service manager), policies and procedures for reporting suspected outbreaks to the local health department.
  4. Work with the school nurse and attendance staff to develop policies and procedures for obtaining and recording ill students’ symptoms.
  5. Train staff on food safety policies, procedures, and plans.
  6. Supervise facilities management and maintenance staff to ensure adequacy and functioning of handwashing facilities in all restrooms.
  7. Encourage handwashing and model proper handwashing techniques.
  8. Encourage the hiring of food service managers who are certified in food safety and sanitation.
  9. Ensure foodservice equipment is working properly and, if necessary, see that it is repaired, replaced, or taken out of service.

Expert reviews of food safety education materials provided by NEHA in collaboration with CDC and NCFSS can be found at

New Team Member Resource Available! Check Out the Team Member In-Depth Modules

Learn more about your role in ensuring a food-safe school and find useful tips and resources to help you implement these recommendations. Check out the special school administrators how to section (Word document).

Check out the Web sites below for more great resources.



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