SOURCE: School Nutrition Association

September 13, 2005 10:59 ET

Food-Safe Schools Action Guide -- Resource for Preventing Foodborne Illness

Announcing a New Multifaceted Implementation Tool to Help Keep Schools Food-Safe

ARLINGTON, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 13, 2005 -- Keeping the nation's youth healthy and safe is everyone's business! A healthy school environment includes safe food. Preventing foodborne illness and preparing a food-safe school environment for the millions of young people who attend school and consume millions of meals each day is a critical matter of school safety and preparedness. Schools have an excellent food safety record, and by using a coordinated team approach can build on that record to help ensure a food-safe school environment and reduce foodborne illness outbreaks.

A new tool in this effort is now available at no cost to schools, and those working with schools, to help them be food-safe. The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide premiered today in Arlington, Virginia in conjunction with the FNS National Nutrition Education Conference 2, and was developed specifically to help schools become food-safe through a team approach. The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners in the National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools (NCFSS), can help schools identify gaps in food safety and develop an action plan for becoming food-safe.

According to Elizabeth Bugden of Kids First of Rhode Island, the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide is a "comprehensive and well-organized tool." The Action Guide, and its support website, www.foodsafeschools.org, are "user-friendly, valuable resources that will help schools take the steps they need to be food-safe," said Ms. Bugden.

The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide includes critical recommendations on what key school staff and community members can do to prevent foodborne illness. The Action Guide includes valuable resources that promote food safety for all foods available in schools, including classroom parties, fundraisers and extra curricular activities. Recognizing that school staff often has little discretionary time to devote to searching for new resources and materials, the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide also contains useful tips and resources to help them prioritize recommendations and take action.

Action Guide materials were developed in a variety of user-friendly formats, including a hardcopy Action Guide toolkit. All of the Action Guide toolkit materials -- plus a wealth of additional information and resources to help staff implement specific parts of the Action Guide's recommendations -- are available for free download at www.foodsafeschools.org. Ms. Solange Morrisette of Pawtucket, R.I. Schools said, "The Action Guide is a comprehensive yet easy to use road map that will guide your team down the path of becoming a safer, healthier place for your students."

The National Coalition for Food-Safe Schools (NCFSS) is an alliance of representatives from national organizations, associations, and state and government agencies that are interested or active involved in reducing foodborne illness in the U.S. by improving food safety in schools. NCFSS is a voluntary and informal working group that focuses specifically on food safety in U.S. schools through information sharing, networking, and strategic planning of activities. Please visit www.foodsafeschools.org to learn more.

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