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Cafeteria Inspections Reveal Critical Health Violations at New York City Schools

At Public School 398 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, elementary school students were offered a lunch of beef patties, zucchini and pears on March 20. A city health inspector discovered some unappetizing conditions in the cafeteria and kitchen that day: live roaches and close to 600 fresh mice droppings – all conditions primed to cause illness.

At Middle School 137 in Ozone Park, Queens, where the kitchen prepares more than 700 meals for five area schools, an inspector found about 1,500 flies on July 12. The Health Department gave the school two days to clean up and put all food in rat-proof containers. While there was some improvement when an inspector returned July 17, flies still loomed and the kitchen remained dirty. The school got another two days to fix the violations. Only on the third try were the problems rectified.