The Greenville County School District’s (GCS’s) Food and Nutrition Services recently received accolades for its excellent food safety system. 

The award–the only one given to a school district by NSF for food safety–comes amidst increased public concern over school lunch safety after a GAO report found that the federal government does not always ensure recalled food is removed from school cafeterias.

school-lunchroom.jpgNSF International, a leader in standards development and product certification, awarded GCS the Leadership Award for Systems Improvement for its superior food safety program.

“School food service operations across Greenville County prepare food using the same high safety standards as NASA when they prepare food for space flights,” said GCS in a statement, referring to the district’s use of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems, which were developed to control food production for NASA missions.

“We began to implement more in-depth safety procedures, like increasing the number of times we check the temperature of food,” explained Quentin Cavanagh, the marketing and training specialist for the GCS Food and Nutrition Services. “We also take food samples every day from every food item on the line. Every food sample is recorded with the item, time, date of sample, and expiration date for its use.”

GCS uses HACCP food safety plans to control all the food in the kitchen–from meat to rice, melons and vegetables.

The district also emphasizes the importance of employee training and education to successfully implement HACCP.