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Health and Safety for Childcare Meals and School Gardens

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Childcare providers learning to prepare snacks with fresh produce (City of Seattle Youth and Family Empowerment, Farm to Table Project, 2011)

Food safety must be always a priority when serving meals. This is particularly important in a childcare setting, where the young age of preschoolers increases susceptibility to foodborne illnesses. By following a few simple guidelines, you can easily ensure health of your children and safety of the food served in your Farm to Preschool program. Below, you will find a list of resources to reference when preparing and serving food. Additional resources offer guidelines specific to school gardens.

Health and Nutrition Information for Preschoolers: Food Safety by U.S. Department of Agriculture [external link] This website provides general food safety guidelines for preschoolers. Resources include a list of foods to avoid to prevent foodborne illness, foods that can be choking hazards, and tips for serving seafood to preschoolers.

Making Food Healthy and Safe For Children by The National Training Institute for CNational Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants logohild Care Health Consultants [external link] This detailed guide to food health and safety in childcare settings is based on National Health and Safety Performance Standards. It includes helpful resources such as sample cleaning schedules, a food storage chart, and  menu planning checklists. While offering guidance on meeting National guidelines, childcare providers should still ensure they are meeting state and local guidelines.

Handling Fresh Produce in Classrooms by USDA and National Food Service Management Institute [external link] Provides guidance for serving fresh produce in classrooms

Food Safety Fact Sheet: Washing Fruits and Vegetables by National Food Service Management Institute [external link] Provides specific instructions for washing fruits and vegetables

Food Safety Tips for School Gardens by USDA and National Food Service Management Institute [external link] Disusses food safety for school gardens. This guide includes tips for garden setup, produce growth and harvest, and produce use in the school meal program.

Can food grown in school gardens be served in the cafeteria?

Safe Salad Bars in Schools cover imageYes it can! Check out  WSDA's "SAFE Salad Bars in Schools - A Guide to School Food Service"

This guide  is framed around salad bars, but shares best practices for using fruits and vegetables safely in any setting.

It has a page solely on food safety for serving school garden harvest to kids.


Last Updated: 10/8/2014