An inquiry by investigative reporter Pam Zekman with CBS Channel 2 News on Thursday prompted Elmhurst District 205 to go public with information regarding DuPage County Health Department citations at York High School.
The problems at York involved a dishwasher that didn't maintain the required 160-degree temperature for sterilization and a salad bar that was not sufficiently cold. All of the problems have been addressed, according to a statement from Disrict 205 Superintendent David Pruneau Friday afternoon.
District 205 Director of Communications Melea Smith said that York is not the only school Zekman is investigating.
"They are investigating two schools per county," she said. The other DuPage school is Metea Valley High School in Indian Prairie District 204, she said.
With regard to the dishwasher, Pruneau said the problem was related to a thermostat located away from the machine.
"An outside company did a thorough check of the dishwasher and pronounced it in good working order," he said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, a subsequent inspection resulted in another violation report."
He said all utensils, plates, trays and pans are routinely pre-washed in a three-compartment sink with hot, soapy water before being placed in the dishwasher.
"In some school cafeterias, (hand-washing) is the only method used to wash dishes," he said. "The DuPage County Health Department does not require that a dishwashing machine be used."
Because of the pre-washing, the health department did not see a problem with cafeteria staff continuing to use the dishwasher while the problem with the thermostat was being worked out, he said.
"In August 2012, the machine's temperature gauge was replaced and an additional backup thermometer is used as a double-check method," Pruneau said. "Temperatures are logged daily, in addition to visual gauge and thermometer checks being made throughout the day."
As for the salad bar not being cold enough, Pruneau said extra precautions were taken to ensure food temperatures were within safe ranges by "freezing or super-cooling foods prior to displaying them in the salad bar."
"HACCP (government regulated) safety procedures are in place, including routinely logging the temperatures of all coolers and freezers, as well as taking food daily samples for necessary testing, for which the Health Department commends us," he said.
The daily food testing is not required by the Health Department, but the district has been doing it for years, Pruneau said. A thorough cleaning of the salad bar coils "resulted in the restoration of maximum cooling capacity and a green light from the Health Department for continued use of that machine."
He said the district is implementing a preventative maintenance schedule to avoid future problems.
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