MDH Cites Schools

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The Mississippi Department of Health has released a list of 115 schools with cafeterias that have failed at least one inspection within the past two years. Three of them were in Meridian.

The three Meridian schools cited included Poplar Springs Elementary, West End and Oakland Heights.

Donna Freyaldenhoven, Food Services Director, explained what health department inspectors checked during their visits.

"They check our temperatures. They check our parts per million in sanitizing rinses and the sinks and the dishwashers," said Freyaldenhoven. "They check our temperatures in cooking and in holding. They check to make sure we don't have insects or rodents and they make sure that our outer openings are protected so that insects and rodents can't come in."

She said none of the Meridian citations were food-related.

"Had there been anything food-related we would have automatically shut down," said the food services director. "We've had no food-borne illnesses and our women are very safe and sanitary."

She said parents should not worry about what is served in school cafeterias.

"I hope you know we invite parents to come in and look at our cafeterias like at Poplar Springs," said Freyaldenhoven. "When you come through the line you can see the whole kitchen. The same thing at West End."

Freyaldenhoven said no Meridian school cafeteria has ever had a food-related citation during her time.

"I've been here for two-and-one-half years and that has not happened," she said. "I was also food service director for Lauderdale County schools for five years and nothing like that has happened in my seven-and-one-half-year tenure."

The local citations occurred in 2001 and the problems have all been corrected, she said.