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Farragut High School nearly fails health inspection

Farragut High School scored 72 points on an April 25 health inspection, two points above a failing score; but after violations were corrected, their new score was 85.

Sandra Harper, cafeteria manager at FHS, said the school was deducted points during the first inspection for “the dish machine, a rusty vent in the dish room, not having a paper towel dispenser in the dish room, a broken sink near the walk-in cooler and freezer, not enough lighting in the cooler and freezer.”

Mary Lou Henry, School Nutrition Program director, said some of “these are things that have been there since the school was built. Lights weren’t out; I mean we didn’t have any light bulbs out or anything like that. [The health inspector] has put ‘lighting insufficient in cooler and freezer,’ well, if it was insufficient the day she was there, it was insufficient ten years ago.”

She added, “We’ve corrected it. It was expensive. We had to use wiring and bulbs that would accommodate a minus forty degrees. That takes a special type of wiring and a special type of bulb to do that.”

Temperatures of food and milk were also an issue in the first inspection, Harper said.

“[The health inspector] got us for milk not being cold enough in one of the boxes … a lot of times these kids come through and they’ll leave that lid open. My cashier, she’s just got two coming through on either side, and it is sometimes hard to see that it was left open,” she said. “She got us for cottage cheese and turkey salad not being at the right temperature. We put all of our cold items on ice. We don’t have a very good air conditioning system in the kitchen, and that ice doesn’t last long.”

Henry said she thought the temperature violations were the result of the way the inspector recorded the temperature.

“We had two items on the salad bar, cottage cheese and turkey salad, that were on ice. They were surrounded by ice,” she said. “[The health inspector] did a surface read on the temp instead of doing a probe for the interior of the product.”

Most violations have been corrected, Harper said.

“Pretty much everything that we were written up for, maintenance has taken care of. All except for the ceiling tiles throughout the kitchen and the dumpsters.”

Harper said the cafeteria shares the dumpsters with the custodians as well as with the teachers and students.

The temperature in the dishwashing machine during both the rinse cycle and the wash cycle was also corrected, she said. Water temperatures during both cycles were originally found to be too cool.

“I knew about the dish machine, and I had a work order faxed in to maintenance,” she added. “… Sometimes it’s hard to get maintenance, when they have priorities like when a freezer goes down or a cooler goes down, sometimes it just gets forgotten about. It’s awful that it takes something like the health department doing this in order to get anything complete.”

Harper said, “Knox County Food Service has three or four maintenance workers for the whole county school-wide. And these three or four guys take care of eighty-something schools. These guys are wonderful. They work hard. It’s just hard sometimes to get some of the items that need to be fixed when you’ve just got so many workers. But it’s a great maintenance department.”

She added, “Our kitchen is clean. Our food is perfect. We don’t put anything out there we wouldn’t eat ourselves … I would invite the public to come over and see us, visit us. We’ll give them a tour of the kitchen. My ladies work hard, they really do.”

FHS and all Knox County schools receive health inspections twice per school year. Harper said FHS’s next inspection should be next fall.


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