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Food Safe Schools Program.

NEHA's Food Safe Schools Program, part of the National Coalition for Food Safe Schools (NCFSS) (www.foodsafeschools.org/), is dedicated to improving the health, education, and well-being of young people. NCFSS is a work group of representatives from a variety of renowned national organizations, associations, and state and government agencies that have interest or active involvement in reducing foodborne illness in the United States by improving food safety in schools. As part of this coalition, NEHA will help build the capacity of local and state health and education departments to work within coordinated school health programs at preventing foodborne illnesses. Recognizing the importance of team-work among disciplines, many organizations are working with NEHA in NCFSS, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Adolescent and School Health, the American Nurses Foundation, the American School Food Service Association, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Rhode Island Department of Public Health (Kids First), and many others.

Current activities of NEHA's Food Safe Schools Program include

* Expansion, enhancement, and promotion of NEHA's school health/food safety resources evaluation Web site -- A user-friendly Web site has been developed to serve as a resource for school health/food safety training materials. Through NEHA, an experienced team of environmental health professionals reviews a continually updated inventory of school health/food safety resource and training materials for content, quality, and compatibility with the FDA Food Code.

* Promotion of the Food Safe Schools Action Guide -- The purpose of the Food Safe Schools Action Guide is to help schools assess their food safety programs and to help prevent young people from becoming ill as a result of improperly prepared or mishandled food. NEHA proposes to collaborate with all constituents to promote the use of the action guide.

Future activities being planned for NEHA's Food Safe Schools Program include

* Development of an "Epi-Ready for Schools" workshop on foodborne-disease-outbreak investigation and disease surveillance -- NEHA proposes to develop and provide a pilot training workshop to teach the fundamentals of foodborne-disease-outbreak investigation and disease surveillance methods to school nurses and to environmental health professionals who inspect school food service facilities.

* Promoting and endorsing the integration of food safety certification into the school food service program -- The certification of supervisory-level food managers is key to sustaining a food safe school environment. NEHA will promote its own nationally recognized Certified Food Safety Professional (C.F.S.P.) credential and encourage supervisory-level managers to sit for this credentialing examination. We also will promote the use of the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention (SNAP) handwashing program to all school staff, including school nurses and environmental health professionals who inspect school food service facilities.

For more information about the Food Safe Schools Program or to volunteer to be on the literature review committee, please visit the NEHA Web site at www.neha.org. You may also contact Tom Dickey at tdickey@neha.org or (563) 285-7870, or Vanessa T. DeArman at vdearman@neha.org or (303) 756-9090, extension 311.
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Title Annotation:NEHA News
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:497
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