NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — State Sen. Jeff Klein said an investigation into New York City public school cafeterias found “stomach-turning cases” of vermin, flies and roaches in public school cafeterias.
Data obtained from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed there were 442 mouse-related violations at 320 school cafeterias during the most recent fiscal year, Klein said.
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“In one instance at the Sixth Avenue Elementary School inspectors found 400 mouse droppings,” Klein said.
Data shows there’s also a lack of soap and water for handwashing, CBS2 reported.
Klein is sponsoring legislation to require the city health department to assign sanitary grades to school cafeterias, similar to those given to restaurants.
“I think if we hold restaurants accountable on their sanitary conditions by having a very easy to read letter grade — an A, B or C — I think the same standard should hold true for our public school cafeterias,” Klein said. “We expect our kids to get As, we should also expect the cafeterias that feed them work just as hard to make the grade.”
Klein acknowledged if a cafeteria gets a failing C grade it won’t shut down, nor will kids be able to go to another cafeteria. However, he said he thinks it will force a cafeteria to “clean up their act.”
Klein believes the grading could take effect late next year.
In a statement the Department of Education said, “We are dedicated to providing students with nutritious meals in cafeterias that are clean and safe, and will work with the Department of Health to make the reports more easily accessible to the public.”