Public School Food Service Checklist


Cooking activities generate odors, moisture, food waste, and other trash, all of which must be managed carefully to avoid indoor air quality (IAQ) and other related problems. Food odors can be problematic to students and staff if they circulate through the school.

1. Confirm that local exhaust fans function properly

  • Check the air flow when fans are on (Hold a piece of tissue paper near the fan to see whether it is pulled toward the fan)

  • Check for cooking odors or smoke in areas adjacent to the cooking, preparation, and eating areas

  • Make sure fan is not excessively noisy (excessive noise may indicate a problem or may cause the fan to not be used)
The best indicator that the fans function properly is there are no odors or smoke in adjacent areas.

2. Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

  • Make sure staff understand the importance of using fans to prevent moisture accumulation and the spread of food odors

  • The staff should be trained to use fans when cooking, dishwashing, or cleaning

  • Monitor fan use from time to time throughout the year
Fans should be located in all cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning areas and always in proper use and working.

3. Confirm that gas appliances function properly

  • Verify that gas appliances are properly vented outdoors

  • Check for combustion gas odors, headaches when gas appliances are in use, or natural gas odors at any time
Make sure there are no leaks or exhaust odors

4. Clean kitchen after use

  • Inspect kitchen for signs of microbiological growth (check for moldy odors, slime, algae)

  • Check for hard-to-reach places such as upper walls and ceiling for evidence of growth

  • Check for any rodent droppings

  • Clean affected areas as needed

  • If biocides are used, select only products registered by EPA for such use, follow only the manufacturer?s directions for use, and pay careful attention to the method of application
Confirm that there are signs of microbiological growth or animal droppings

5. Inspect the kitchen for plumbing leaks

  • Check the sink faucets and areas under sinks

  • Check all other drainage areas

  • Look for stains or discoloration, and/or damp or wet areas
Verify that there are no plumbing leaks