Fourteen New Brunswick schools were found to have at least one major violation or six to nine minor health and safety violations during food premises inspections this fall, reports show.
Major violations were found at these daycares, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities:
- Building Futures Early Learning Childcare.
- École Cité De L'Amitié in Bathurst.
- Nackawic Middle School in Nackawic.
- North & South Esk Elementary School in Sunny Corner.
- North & South Esk Regional High School in Sunny Corner.
- Ridgeview Middle School in Oromocto.
- Rothesay Park Middle School in Rothesay.
- Seeds After School Program in Hampton.
- St. Maclachy's High in Saint John.
- St. Stephen's University in St. Stephen.
- Bar Le Coude, a bar on Université de Moncton's campus.
Schools where inspectors recorded six to nine minor infractions include:
- Kingswood University
- NBCC Moncton
J.M.A. Armstrong School in Salisbury recorded major violations but they were corrected at a reinspection Monday.
All of the schools received either a dark or light yellow grade on their food inspection reports.
A dark yellow grade means the school or daycare was generally compliant with health regulations but may have had up to three major violations at the time of the inspection. A light yellow grade means the school or daycare had six to nine minor violations.
A minor violation is one that's not likely to cause immediate risk. A major violation ranges from a faulty hygienic practice to anything that poses a risk to human health.
"A minor violation might be a broken tile on the floor," said Yves, Levesque, regional director for health protection services in northern New Brunswick. "A major [violation] would be temperatures that are not correct or no hand soap at a hand washing sink."
Food inspection reports are publicly accessible through the Department of Health website. Reports are uploaded there about 24 hours after an inspection is completed.
Whose problem is it?
Some schools, like Ridgeview Middle School and Nackawic Middle School, did not have a certificate visible confirming they'd completed a food handler program — a major violation. A food-handler certificate must be present in any area where food is being prepared.
At Moncton's New Brunswick Community College campus, the floor was peeling in the pastry area of a cafeteria, according to its inspection report.
Other infractions committed by the schools included broken dishwashers, water-damaged ceiling tiles, a too-strong chemical concentration in sanitizer spray bottles, and faulty thermometers.
"All dishes must be sanitized manually until repaired," said a handwritten inspection report on a major violation at St. Stephen's University.
The Seeds After School Program received a dark yellow grade for storing Borax, a cleaning product, in the same cupboard as food, among two other infractions.
"Chemicals must be stored safely such as a locked cupboard under the sink," the inspection report said.
Inspections at the Sunny Corner schools discovered expired sanitization test strips. A sanitization test strip tells its user whether the sanitizing solution is the required concentration.
The high school report said the dishwasher was broken and the temperature of the fridge was not properly logged.
Meredith Caissie, a spokesperson for Anglophone North School District, said in an email that informing the parents of a health violation depends on the circumstances.
Since the infractions were considered "minor and addressable issues," parents and guardians of students at North and South Esk Elementary School were not informed of the report, she said.
Levesque said schools don't have an obligation to inform parents or guardians about infractions, unless the school's licence is revoked by the regional medical officer of health.
"If the licence was revoked, they would not be able to prepare any more food, so the school administration would have to tell the parents that no food will be served in that cafeteria or kitchen."
Levesque is not aware of any school having its licence revoked for non-compliance.
Standards for inspecting a school are the same for a restaurant, Levesque said. Inspections are conducted according to New Brunswick's standard operating procedures for food premises, which fall under the province's Public Health Act.
Levesque said the onus falls on the schools and daycare centres to fix concerns before a specific followup date, which appears on each report. If the food service in the school is run by an outside company, it's up to that company to correct the violations.
The majority of the food inspection reports for the 14 schools and daycares were conducted in late September and early October. Most have until mid-October or the end of October to correct the problems. Some are due for a reinspection this week.