Connecticut schools struggle with health inspections

Even affluent districts have been fighting poor health reports.

Jan. 7—Districts across Fairfield County, Conn.—from Stamford to Shelton, Bridgeport to Bethel and everywhere between—have been cited for numerous health-code violations inside school cafeterias.

Even well-to-do Greenwich had black marks on its record. And several schools have flunked repeated inspections, while others have passed even after inspectors found mouse droppings or cockroaches in the kitchens.

A Hearst Connecticut Newspapers analysis of 2,248 inspections of public school cafeterias performed throughout the county from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2012, found that health inspectors failed cafeterias a total of 199 times for a variety of violations ranging from hazardous food-storage practices to dirty facilities and sick cafeteria workers wielding ladles.

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Ideas and Innovation
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Menu Development
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“This is the best meatloaf I’ve ever had,” a diner at Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications in Naperville, Ill., once told chef Iraj Fernando. The dish was rooted in a tried-and-true source—the “Betty Crocker Cookbook.”

“I just seasoned the breadcrumbs differently, used fresh parsley and beat the eggs to make them frothier,” says Fernando, executive chef and manager for Southern Foodservice Management.

Consumer interest is up for classic and comforting meat dishes like meatballs (16%), beef pot pie (26%) and meatloaf (12%) for dinner now compared to two years ago, shows...

Ideas and Innovation
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We have spent considerable money making cafeterias cool again. New paint jobs, crazy color patterns, custom graphics and changes in lighting schemes have made some of our cafes popular gathering places. We’ve also experimented with videos, cable TV programs and music. We involved a number of student groups and student input in improving the atmosphere, especially in our high school and middle school cafeterias.

Ideas and Innovation
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