About School Cafeteria
The National School Lunch Act requires that food safety inspections are conducted by the state or local governmental agency responsible for inspections.
The current provisions of Section 111 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act, effective July 1, 2005, requires each school that participates in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Program to receive two food safety inspections per school year. Inspections help control the possible spread of infectious disease and ensures adequate protections for students, staff, and cafeteria workers.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Environmental Health (DPH EH) has developed a food safety inspection program for school cafeterias in Los Angeles County. The Program is designed to help Los Angeles County School Districts meet the Federal mandates of Section 111 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act.
To enter into a contract with DPH EH to conduct the required inspections, interested school districts must complete a form, Service Agreement for Food Safety Inspections in public school cafeterias. The requirements are in place to control the possible spread of infectious disease and to ensure adequate protections for students, staff, and cafeteria workers.
The District Surveillance and Enforcement Program inspects school cafeterias in Los Angeles County that have service agreements for food safety inspections. The Specialized Surveillance and Enforcement Program inspects central kitchens and school commissaries with service agreements for food safety inspections.
The City of Pasadena, Long Beach, and Vernon have their own health departments. Even though Pasadena and Long Beach have their own health department, these cities contract with Los Angeles County Public Health - Environmental Health to conduct food safety inspections for their schools in the unincorporated areas.
As found in California Retail Food Code excerpt from the California Health and Safety Code, Article 2, Section 113789:
"Food facility" means an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level, including, but not limited to, the following:
- An operation where food is consumed on or off the premises, regardless of whether there is a charge for the food
- Any place used in conjunction with the operations described in this subdivision, including, but not limited to, storage facilities for food-related utensils, equipment, and materials
"Food facility" includes permanent and nonpermanent food facilities, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Public and private school cafeterias
- Restricted food service facilities
- Licensed health care facilities
- Mobile food facilities
- Mobile support units
- Temporary food facilities
- Vending Machines
- Certified farmers' markets, for purposes of permitting and enforcement
Report a Problem
School cafeteria complaints can be filed by calling Environmental Health at (888) 777-9995 or File a Complaint Online. DPH will not ask you about your immigration status and you can file a complaint anonymously.
You can report to Environmental Health if the cafeteria does not:
- Have clean bathrooms with soap, water, toilet paper, and hand towels
- Control pests like rats, mice, and cockroaches
- Has unsanitary food conditions and improper food handling
- Have enough light to see well
- Have hot and cold running water
- Have a clean workplace inside and out
- Take steps to prevent all imminent health and safety hazards as defined in California Retail Food Code
For further information, contact the Program Planning Program.