Children Poisened at Preschool. How would you handle this?

Nineteen children were taken to the hospital after they fell ill in a preschool center in Lauderhill, FLA. About thirty students fell ill at Ave Marie Friends Preparatory School in a case thought to have been caused by food poisoning. According to the medical assistants, they found many children at various degrees of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Some of the children had also passed out while others were droopy.

Given that these were preschool kids, vomiting and diarrhea had taken a toll on their bodies. The police along with the department of health are investigating the food, the outside catering company that served the food as well as the school administration for prosecution if any is found to have caused the problem out of negligence. 1

Can the parents sue a preschool for food poisoning?

Yes, a school can be sued for food poisoning. Parents can make a food poisoning claim on behalf of their children. The law requires the institution that prepares, sells, or serves the food to take adequate measures to ensure that the food is fit for consumption

The lawsuit depends on the state in which the case of food poisoning has occurred. Many states follow the FDA food codes. However, some have their variations of the food codes. The food addresses the issue of food protection and safety. 2

The Federal government has taken notice of the issue of obesity in schools and has started to scrutinize and monitor what is served to your students. In a bid to lower the instances of child obesity and improve children’s health and nutrition in schools, the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 was formulated.

The law gives USDA far-reaching powers to ensure that the food that is being served in schools meets the hygiene and nutritional guidelines. It sets the standards for the lunches served in schools. It also increases access to reduced- cost lunches or free lunches to students that come from low-income zones. From time to time, the USDA visits school cafeterias to determine if nutritional standards are met.

What does the Healthy, Hunger free Kids Act of 2010 say?

The law requires school districts to be audited every three years for the purposes of improving compliance with the law. It also requires it to make the information on the nutritional quality of foods to be made available to the parents for scrutiny. 3

To improve food safety, the law included provisions for the recall procedures and extended hazard analysis as well as minimum hygiene standards for food. It also provides for technical training for school food providers. 4

The law proposes that all the schools provide vegetables and fruits every day, increase amounts of the whole grain diet in the food and reduce the amounts of fats and sodium in the meals. This may include the serving of low fat or fat-free milk. The law also requires that the school menus pay attention to the portion sizes to ensure that the kids receive the right amounts of calories in their meals.3

Some school administrators believe the law has gone too far particular because the children a forced to put the fruits on their trays. Unfortunately, a good number of the children throw away the vegetables and fruits to the trash.3 4

Can children be limited from bringing certain food to school?

The law does not give the school outright powers to ban certain foods from coming to the school. Some argue that the move may take away some of the children’s constitutional rights. However, the school may limit certain food items from being brought into the school for the sake of the safety of the child.3

How do you ensure food safety at preschool?

Toddlers at the daycare centers and nursery tend to contaminate their food in the process of playing. It is important that you as the tutor ensure that they are eating in a clean environment, wash their hands before taking food and eat a good portion of their food if not the whole plate.

What if the preschool is working on a shoestring budget?

A number or school are cash-strained and find it hard to comply with the law. An easier way is to utilize the foods in the season, as they are cheap. If the school is located in an area where certain fruits and vegetables grow in every season, the menu can be adjusted to take in the fruits in the season. The School Nutrition Association is lobbying the Congress to have more funding for better food in public institutions. However, the schools can get creative and use the resources available to comply with the law.

It is also important that the food handlers have a health certificate from the public health authorities. This ensures that are fit to serve the food and do not pass any pathogens to the food. It is also good to liaise with the parents in coming up with the diet for the pre-schoolers. The law gives the parents the right to know the nutritional value of the food that is served at the school.