Skip to main content

Food Safe Schools: Creating a Culture of Food Safety

Protect your students from foodborne illness by creating a food-safety culture.

The Food-Safe Schools Action Guide was developed by the FNS Food Safety Branch, the Institute of Child Nutrition, and the Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition Programs to provide tools to school nutrition staff to create food safety cultures in their communities.

child nutrition professional
What's the Action Guide?

The Action Guide is intended to help you coordinate all aspects of food safety to create a culture of food safety. Think of it as an umbrella that covers many important areas of food safety that need to be considered when serving food in schools.

The Action Guide identifies federal food safety requirements that schools are required to meet, as well as other important areas that should be addressed to have a top-notch food safety program. The Action Guide also identifies the roles that others (e.g., teachers, parents, school nurses) in the school community play in the school’s food safety efforts.

who's the action guide for icon
Who's the Action Guide for?

The Action Guide was written for school nutrition directors who have responsibility over food safety in child nutrition programs. We know, however, that the landscape of child nutrition programs and school nutrition operations varies greatly from state to state, and even district to district. The Action Guide is designed in such a way that it can be used by anyone. For example, a school nutrition manager can apply the messages and tools in the Action Guide within an individual school.

Guide
What's in the Action Guide?

The Action Guide has three parts:

  • Part 1 includes a checklist to help you assess your current food safety efforts.
  • Part 2 consists of action sheets, which cover one area of food safety and provide basic background information, specific steps to take to address the area, and resources to help you take the steps.
  • Part 3 gives you tips to effectively communicate your food safety messages and efforts to other school community members. Strategy sheets are provided for various community members to help them understand why they are an important part of the school’s food safety efforts and what they can do to help create a culture of food safety.
Bag Lunch Icon
Why are food-safe schools important?

Millions of meals are served to students in schools across the country every year, which means that there is the potential for foodborne illness and outbreaks.

The safety of the food served through child nutrition programs should contribute to students' learning and well-being; we want to protect children served school meals.


Why does the guide matter?
Why should I create a food safety culture? How do I use the guide to do this?

Start creating your own culture of food safety by clicking through the steps below.

Food Safe Schools: Creating a Culture of Food Safety

Review Your Current Food Safety Efforts
Use this checklist to assess your current food safety policies, procedures, and programs, and develop actions to improve your current efforts.
Review Your Current Food Safety Efforts
Use this checklist to assess your current food safety policies, procedures, and programs, and develop actions to improve your current efforts.
Take Action to Build Food-Safe Schools
Once completed, the Food-Safe Schools Checklist will help to prioritize food safety needs. Action sheets will help build a framework for certain areas.
Communicate With Your School Community
Communication in your school community is important to creating culture of food safety. Some partners to consider include teachers, parents, school administrators, school nurses, and more.

Food Safe Schools: Creating a Culture of Food Safety

a boxed lunch next to a milk bottle an apple, and a bowl of berries
Page updated: June 21, 2024