8 Essential Safety Tips for Serving K-12 Emergency Meals

Kid Meals

SFE offers 8 key safety tips to all operators who are serving emergency meals in their communities.

Today, Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE) is hosting emergency feeding programs in 90% of our K-12 school districts, ensuring that our children are properly fed even during COVID-19- related school closures. Clearly, there’s never been a more important time to employ the highest of safety protocols. We want all employees and their families to stay safe and healthy! To that end, we offer these 8 key safety tips to all operators who are serving emergency meals in their communities:

8 Essential Serving Safety Tips:

  1. When employees show up at site, offer a questionnaire, and request that all employees check their temperatures on site to be sure they don’t have a fever. While it is illegal to ask an employee if he/she has COVID-19, it’s essential to quickly identify anyone who is presenting any symptoms of sickness—and compassionately and promptly send them home.
  2. Use an egg timer to be sure your team is consistently handwashing, sanitizing and disinfecting for the sufficient amount of time (20 seconds or more) to make those efforts as effective as possible.
  3. Ensure that all food is prepared with special attention to proper temperatures: Record food temperatures throughout preparation and service. (Store foods under refrigeration up to the point of service for cold foods; store hot foods in warming units at 135F or above.)
  4. Prep well ahead to fill all orders; getting behind can compromise safety.
  5. When serving, eliminate any unnecessary touch points for your entire team. (Example: Before you start service, prop open all doors.)
  6. Try to eliminate physical contact with anyone who is picking up meals. In addition to using gloves and masks, many of our serving teams place meals carts, so that parents can just pick these up with maximum social distancing from servers. At very least, don’t allow staff to reach over individuals in the car to place food.
  7. Draw sidewalk chalk lines or use tape lines to help those standing in line to consistently observe a 6ft separation between every person.
  8. Keep employee work groups small-- and workstations spread out as far apart from each other as possible. (It is highly recommended to segregate your kitchen team from your serving team to avoid any contact between these teams.)
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