The Barbe High School cafeteria has been judged to be “sanitary” by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, almost three weeks after the school failed a sanitation inspection because of rodents.
The American Press reports (http://bit.ly/qjfACs ) the DHH inspection on March 1 found nine sanitation code violations in the cafeteria, including four critical violations. The DHH defines critical violations as those that could directly contribute to food contamination or illness.
“This is the worst our report has ever been. We usually get the OK,” Faye Jordan, Barbe cafeteria manager, said. “We were told we need to wipe down everything every day and the issues should go away.”
The school was able to correct three of its critical violations in the presence of the inspector. These included the chlorine sanitizer concentration for silverware washing, the storage of first aid supplies and proper cleaning of food surfaces and utensils. The fourth critical violation was the evidence of rodents in the cafeteria. “Rodents are not uncommon in cafeterias,” Gary Anderson, assistant superintendent for Calcasieu Parish schools, said. “We called the exterminator as soon as we found out …. When something is brought to our attention, we address it and that’s what we’ve done.”
Barbe students were not told of the rodent problem by the school, but they were not surprised to hear that the cafeteria was not up to code.
“It’s very trashy. I’m a Bluebelle (the school’s dance team) and we practice in the cafeteria and they don’t clean it up at all,” said Janet Hatfield, an 11th-grader. “There is always trash everywhere.”
“Unlike most students I actually like the food in the cafeteria, but I’m not particularly surprised they aren’t sanitary,” said Wyatt Bertrand, a 12th-grader. “They dump trash right next to the cafeteria and the rat traps are out there right next to us.”
An inspector returned to the school Monday to make sure that Barbe had made the necessary changes.
“Everything is clear now,” Anderson said. “They did still ask us to clean the floors, walls and have an ample stack of toilet paper, but those are minor changes.”
Other Calcasieu Parish schools have faced similar inspection problems this year. Both E.K. Key Elementary and J.I. Watson Middle schools each had a critical violation related to their water and sewer lines. The DHH was concerned about back flow prevention because there is a direct connection between the school’s drainage system and the drain line originating from food handling equipment.
The DHH conducts routine inspections of all school cafeterias four times a year and inspects entire schools once a year.