COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 4

May 6, 2005

REGULATORY

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Food Safety Requirements in the School Nutrition Programs Reauthorization 2004

 

Public Law 108-265, the Child Nutrition and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act of 2004, amended food safety requirements for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. The amendments affect food safety inspections and require implementation of a food safety program that complies with a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system. These changes become effective July 1, 2005.

 

School Food Safety Inspections

Each participating school must obtain at least two food safety inspections each school year. The inspections must be conducted by a state or local governmental agency responsible for food safety inspection. In Virginia, this agency is the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and its 35 local health districts. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been in contact with the appropriate state officials to inform them of the inspection requirement. School divisions should contact their environmental health specialist at the local health department to arrange for the required twice per school year inspections.

 

In addition, schools must post a report of the most recent food safety inspection, and provide a copy to the public upon request. An excellent resource for food safety inspection reports is the VDH public Website at: www.healthspace.ca/vdh.

 

VDOE will ask each school division to provide an annual report of the number of food safety inspections conducted in each participating school. VDOE will be required to send this information to USDA annually.

HACCP Food Safety System

Participating schools are required, during the preparation and service of meals, to implement a food safety program that complies with the HACCP system requirements as established by the Secretary of Agriculture. VDOE envisions that schools will build on food safety procedures already in place to meet the goals of a HACCP compliant system.

 

To assist school divisions in implementing this requirement, the VDOE school nutrition programs office has partnered with the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) to offer seven regional HACCP orientation workshops. Some of these workshops were conducted in April and others will be conducted in May 2005. Information and registration for these workshops was sent to school nutrition directors and superintendents in a March 14, 2005, memorandum. The NFSMI manual, HACCP for Child Nutrition Programs: Building on the Basics, used in these workshops outlines the principles of HACCP and the steps to design and implement a HACCP compliant food safety system in schools.

 

Effective with the school year 2005-06, VDOE will monitor compliance with these food safety regulations during the federal Coordinated Review Effort (CRE) and needs assessments conducted by school nutrition program staff.

 

USDA continues to develop guidance to assist school divisions in implementing this requirement. Additional information and tools will be provided to school divisions as they become available.

 

Questions regarding food safety requirements in the school nutrition programs may be directed to the school nutrition program specialist assigned to the division, or Lynne Fellin, acting director, at (804) 225-2074.

 

JLD/LAF/idl