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Rest of the Story: Food for Thought - Expiration Dates

DCSD would like to provide the facts regarding a recent 7News story titled “Kids fed expired food in Douglas County schools; district says 'Our food is safe.'” Many of the foods mentioned in the story are no longer served at DCSD.

DCSD Nutrition Services Director Brent Craig and his team are focused on providing safe and nutritious foods to all students. The team serves approximately 47,000 lunches every day in 85 schools. Each school has a kitchen manager who is empowered and responsible for ensuring that safe, quality food is provided to our students.

How do you know what is safe?

Nutrition Services follows USDA guidelines in food storage and preparation. The USDA guidelines state that once a perishable product is frozen, it doesn't matter if the expiration date passes because foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely. DCSD Nutrition Services holds perishable items in a freezer set at -14 degrees.

What about quality and nutritional value?

Although USDA guidelines show that expiration dates are no longer relevant once an item is frozen, Craig focuses on turning freezer inventory every 60 days. The burritos shown in the 7News story are no longer sold in DCSD due to changes in nutritional guidelines in 2012, as they are high in sodium.

I hear a lot about fresh produce. Is it safe?

We focus on fresh, quality products. In fact, 95% of the produce we serve in our schools is fresh. Quality inspections happen twice before the food is consumed. Our fruits, vegetables and breads are received at the DCSD Warehouse and sent to a school the next day. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

What happens if the food doesn't meet your criteria?

It is important to note that the staff at each school are expected to check the quality of all food each time it is delivered and prepare it based on the District’s recipe and standards. If schools receive unfit produce, they are instructed to return it to Nutrition Services.

So how do I know the food my child is eating in school is safe?

Tri-County Health inspected DCSD Nutrition Service’s warehouse last month and found no concerns. This further solidifies DCSD Nutrition Service’s dedication to quality, nutritious food for your student. 

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