LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The school year is underway. Papers are being graded and tests are being taken. School cafeterias must pass their own pop quizzes when health inspectors check for food safety.
This time, the FOCUS investigative team looked into reports in Jefferson County.
Jefferson County Health Inspector Scott Nethery said the department usually conducts inspections twice each school year. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and virtual learning, the normal reviews weren't possible. Nethery said the department did hold inspections when schools were open.
We looked at reports between 2019 and 2021 to understand the most critical findings. Scoring a 90 may get a student an A in the classroom - but when inspectors find 'priority violations,' the grade can drop drastically.
Nethery said priority violations include:
- Food stored at improper temperatures,
- Not sanitizing equipment properly,
- Employees storing personal food and drinks improperly, and
- Toxic items stored near food.
What we found
Jefferson County health inspectors gave St. Raphael, a catholic school in Louisville, a C with a score of 90 in May 2021.
The report faulted the person in charge -- who inspectors say did not demonstrate food safety knowledge and there was no certified food manager present. They also found scrambled eggs more than a month out of date.
But the violation they lost the most points for was a sanitizing solution that was not at the proper concentration.
Previously, the school earned a 97 when inspected in 2020 and 2019.
"We do have some that stumble here and there but again, that's going happen. As long as we get the violations corrected, it's not a problem," Nethery explained. "I’ve been doing this for 24 years now and I do not remember having to have an administrative conference with any of the schools.”
Moore High School
Inspectors marked off points at Moore High back in 2019 when they found food not stored at the proper temperature.
"We treat a school just like we treat any restaurant, it's all food served to us," Nethery said.
Dairy products should maintain 41 degrees Fahrenheit but inspectors found yogurt at 49 degrees and milk at 53 degrees, according to the inspection report. Cooked food should be at 135 degrees but inspectors found corn dogs at 106 degrees.
When health inspectors returned in 2020, Moore scored an A with a 98.
Other notable violations
Between 2019 and 2021, we also found a handful of schools that scored a 95, which were the facilities that scored lower compared to other schools.
Some of the most common issues at these schools include how they store and protect the food. For example, food must be kept six inches off the ground and in proper protective packaging.
Two schools lost points for not having chemical test kits.
Here is a short list of schools that scored a 95 and notes we found on the inspection reports:
St. Francis of Assisi School - Score: 95 (A) - Oct. 1, 2019
Previous scores: 100 and 95 in 2019.
- Individual disposable towels and/or hand drying device not provided at bathroom or hand sink - corrected
- Keep butter on ice - corrected
- Use paper towels for spray bottles on tables
- Need a hand wash sign in bathrooms for employees
- No chemical tests kit.
- For spray bottle with sanitizer in the lunchroom
Assumption Catholic High School - Score: 95 (A) - Sept. 24, 2019
Previous scores: 96 in 2018 and 97 in 2019
- Store butter on ice or in the refrigerator - corrected
- Label all food products. Dispensing bottles
- Keep wiping bucket off the floor, bucket in a bucket, bucket on a tray, bucket on a shelf away from food or food items
- No chemical test kit
- Outer openings not protected against entry of pests - do not store pest control devices near food items – corrected
- Floors not clean, grease spillage on the floor below fryers, walls and ceiling not clean, clean vent hood of drippings clean return air vents
Sacred Heart Academy - Score: 95 (A) - Sept. 3, 2020
- Food not protected during storage (Veggie Mix discarded)
- Food not properly labeled
- Chemical sanitizing solution not at proper concentrations (not being used)
- Plumbing not maintained in good repair
DePaul School - Score: 95 (A) - May 20, 2021
Previous scores: 96 in 2019, 100 in 2020.
- Ready-to-eat food subject to contamination by raw animal products (store eggs below RTE food)
- Food not protected during display (sour Cream, green beans) food not stored at least 6 inches above the floor
- Dishes not dried properly before stacking
- Floors not clean (walk-in)
Ascension of our Lord School - Score: 95 (A) - May 25, 2021
Previous scores: 99 and 100 in 2020.
- Food not protected during storage (jalapenos)
- Cloths in use not stored in sanitizing solution
- Plumbing not maintained in good repair 3-comp sink
- Unclean air ducts and filters (above dishwasher)
To check out how your kid's school scored, contact the Jefferson County Health Department or review inspection data here.
Have a story tip? Contact the FOCUS Investigative team at FOCUS@whas11.com.