School meals are an important source of fruits and vegetables for children. You should select and prepare fruits and vegetables safely to avoid foodborne illness. Child nutrition program operators may purchase produce from a variety of sources, including local farmers and producers, food hubs, or distributors. Produce safety is important whether produce is sourced from a large distributor or local farmer. Understanding and using produce and food safety best practices will help keep children safe.
For food safety information and best practices, including information specifically for produce, check out USDA’s five new fact sheets! These resources are designed for USDA’s partners and stakeholders, including child nutrition program operators and agricultural producers. They’re filled with useful information and provide an overview of the following topics related to food safety:
September is National Food Safety Education Month and National Preparedness Month which are great reminders about the importance of food safety during emergencies and disasters! The USDA FNS Food Safety Emergency Response webpage can help operators prevent foodborne illness during emergencies and disasters.
The Food Safety Emergency Response Pocket Guide supports schools in their response to food safety emergencies caused by disasters and weather events. The pocket guide addresses power outages, water outages, water contamination, sewage issues, floods, and fires.
The Assembling Food Safety Emergency Supply Kits poster highlights key supplies to include in emergency kits that may be used during emergencies and disasters that impact foodservice operations.
These resources are available in English and Spanish. Additional food safety resources and information are available via the USDA FNS Food Safety webpage and the Institute of Child Nutrition Food Safety Resources webpage.