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

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Health Department Superhero

Food Safety for the Local Health Department

Essential partner for healthy schools

By working with schools, local health departments can promote food safety and handwashing, and help contain a foodborne illness outbreak if one occurs—possibly keeping more students and staff from becoming sick. It is critical that staff from local health departments and schools establish a close relationship for maintaining healthy and safe schools. The Food- Safe Schools Action Guide urges health departments to follow these simple but critical recommendations. Details, tips, and resources to help implement each recommendation are outlined in the Action Guide’s in-depth modules.

  1. Help schools improve their food safety policies and practices at the district and school building levels by providing science-based recommendations.
  2. Serve as a resource for foodservice, teaching, nursing, and other school staff.
  3. Implement federal, state, and local food safety policies and practices in a proactive and timely manner.
  4. Inspect and monitor schools at least twice a year to ensure that foodservice practices, equipment, and facilities are food-safe.
  5. Address and resolve school food safety infractions.
  6. Review and approve new or remodeled school foodservice facilities.
  7. Establish guidelines for when schools should contact local health departments about a suspected foodborne illness outbreak.
  8. Investigate foodborne illness outbreaks in collaboration with school staff.
  9. Assist schools with crisis communication in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak.
  10. Develop a rapid communication response to foodborne illness outbreaks. Be prepared to respond in a timely manner to foodborne illness outbreaks.
  11. Know how and when to report outbreaks to the state health department and to the appropriate federal agencies.
  12. Stay informed of which foodborne illnesses must be reported to the state and national levels.

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

Subscribe to the Food Safety and Inspection Service Weekly Constituent Update at www.fsis.usda.govFind State Reporting Requirements at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists 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 health department official how to section (Word document).

Check out the Web sites below for more great resources.



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