BEGIN Program Policy 27.0


Policy 27.0


St. Mary’s School Begin Program serves a pre-plated meal service – This is a type of meal service where by all the food components of a meal (e.g. lunch – meat/meat alternate, fruits, vegetables, breads/grains and milk) are served to participants. Supervising staff pre-fill plates and glasses/cups with the minimum required portion size for all food components prior to the meal service. This type of food service is used for pre-k students.


Meal Counts: These MUST be completed at the time that the meal is served:

  • Using the Monthly Attendance and Meal Count Record maintained by the principal.
  • A staff member must take attendance on the form, adding any children that need to be added on the bottom (First and Last Name) that are not already listed. Do not list a child that is visiting for lunch for transition purposes because they will be counted in their original room till transition is complete.
  • Once the meal is served mark down the number of meals served.
  • This should be done individually while each meal is being served.
  • At the end of the month the Principal will collect and add up the rows as well as columns.


Staff members serve as role models during this time and need to sit down to each meal with the children.


DRINKING WATER/Water Bottle Policy

Drinking water is ALWAYS available to children through out the hours of operation and offered at frequent intervals through the use of their program issued water bottle.

We have purchased dishwasher safe water bottles for all of our students. Each student will have one labeled with their first and last name. They will be washed in our industrial grade dishwasher in the kitchen/lunchroom at the end of each day. Students will be able to keep their water bottle at their spot on the table, on their name tag each day. These water bottles will only be used for water.


Policy 27.1


Food borne illness can be prevented by following guidelines for handwashing, excluding ill foodservice workers, and for storing, handling, preparing, and cooking food and beverages in the childcare and school settings.

Hand washing

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. Thorough hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Alcohol-based hand rubs are not acceptable in the food service area. (See pgs 56-59 for more information on hand washing.)



People should not prepare or serve food with the following:

  • vomiting and/or diarrhea or until 72 hours after the last episode of vomiting or diarrhea.
  • until treated with antibiotics or have had one or more negative stool tests (depends on specific bacteria).
  • skin lesions on exposed areas (face, hands, fingers) that cannot be covered. Wear finger cots or disposable gloves over covered sores on the fingers or hands.
  • when wearing fingernail polish.


Food and beverage storage, handling, preparation, and cooking guidelines:

  • Storage guidelines/rationale
    • Store all potentially hazardous foods (eggs, milk or milk products, meat, poultry, fish, etc.) at 41° F or below. Childcare centers/schools that receive hot food entrees must hold potentially hazardous foods at 140° F and above and check food temperature with a clean, calibrated food thermometer before serving. Bacteria may grow or produce toxins if food is kept at temperatures that are not hot or cold enough. These bacteria can cause illness if the food is eaten. Store lunches that contain potentially hazardous foods in the refrigerator. Use coolers with ice packs for keeping lunches cold on field trips.
    • Store raw meat and poultry products on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This will help to prevent the meat and poultry juices from dripping onto other foods.
    • Keep food products away from cleaning products, medicine, and animal food. Never refer to medicine as “candy” as this may encourage children to eat more medicine than they should. Some cleaning products can be mistaken for foods. For example, cleansers may look like powdered sugar and pine cleaners may look like apple juice. Cleaning products must be properly labeled.
  • Preparation guidelines/rationale
    • Prepare food in an approved preparation area. Preferably, one sink should be dedicated for food preparation and one for hand washing. This area has equipment, surfaces, and utensils that are durable, easily cleaned, and safe for food preparation.
    • Rinse fresh produce in a clean, sanitized sink before preparing. This helps remove pesticides or trace amounts of soil and stool, which might contain bacteria or viruses that may be on the produce.
    • Clean all surfaces before beginning food preparation. Unclean surfaces can harbor bacteria and contribute to cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when a contaminated product or its juices contacts other products and contaminates them.
    • Use an approved sanitizer for food contact surfaces. Test kits can be used to check the concentration. High concentration of sanitizer can leave high residuals on the food contact surface, which can contaminate food, make people ill, and damage surfaces or equipment.
    • Label all sanitizer spray bottles. Check sanitizer solution daily using a test kit. Make a fresh solution if the concentration is below acceptable levels. This will prevent accidental misuse of sanitizer spray bottles.
    • Always wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and dishes between different foods. Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and produce. Cross contamination occurs when a contaminated product or its juices, (e.g., raw meat or poultry) touches other products (e.g., fresh fruit, vegetable, cooked foods) and contaminates them.
    • Thaw foods properly: 1) on a tray on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, 2) under continuously running cold (70° F or less) water in continuously draining sink, or 3) in the microwave, only if the food is cooked immediately afterwards. DO NOT leave food out on the kitchen counter to thaw. Thawing food on a kitchen counter can allow bacteria to grow in the food.
    • DO NOT prepare infant formula in the hand washing sink area in the infant room. Use water from kitchen prep sink to mix infant formula or use bottled water.
  • Other Considerations
    • DO NOT let children serve or prepare food in the childcare setting. Cooking projects in the childcare and school settings should be treated as a science project. Alternatively, have the children make an individual-sized portion for themselves. Children could contaminate food and make other children/staff ill if they handle food during these types of projects. Monitor the children’s hand washing and supervise children so they do not eat the food.
    • If children bring food or treats to share, the food or treats must be purchased from a licensed store or bakery. DO NOT allow food/treats to be brought from home. Children and parents may not understand food safety principles as well as staff at licensed food establishments. Licensed commercial kitchens are more controlled environments for preparation than private homes.
    • DO NOT wash bottles, nipples, or dishes in the hand washing sink area in the infant room. Any items that need to be cleaned and/or sanitized must be sent to the kitchen.
    • ALL food in the in the refrigerator MUST be labeled with a date (and name if it belongs to an individual
    • Open baby food containers may only be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours
    • All other food (milk, bread, fruit) which is open may only be stored in the refrigerator for 4 days as long as it has not reached its expiration date
    • Staff must throw out any food which are left over and has been removed from the original containers and served to the students.
    • If a child who eats regular meals is sleeping during the designated meal time, the food must be covered and placed in the refrigerator. The food must be reheated to appropriate temperature before being served to the child.
    • Tables and high chairs used for eating must be washed with soap and water before and after use. Table must be sanitized with weak bleach after table is dry
    • Sanitation guidelines according to the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program must be followed with all food preparations.
    • Staff must wear disposable food service gloves when handling and preparing food.
  • Other Considerations
    • Each parent must give written dietary instructions for their child in our care. A parent typically does this during parent-teacher interview


Policy 27.2


Young children are more susceptible to bacteria than older children, and unsanitary food conditions can cause serious infections. General cleanliness, proper food selection, and sanitary food preparation and storage are key to preventing illnesses related to food contamination. Take extra care when handling food and utensils to make sure they are safe and clean. State and local guidelines may vary regarding requirements for sanitary food preparation in child care facilities and other institutions.


Hand Washing

Proper hand washing can help prevent the spread of illness in child care settings. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly by following these steps:

  • Wet your hands with warm running water.
  • Add soap.
  • Wash all surfaces on hands. Rub vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Wash carefully between fingers, around the tops and palms of hands, over wrists, and under nails using a clean nail brush.
  • Rinse your hands well under warm running water; leave the water running while drying hands.
  • Dry your hands with a clean, disposable paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet, using the disposable paper towel, instead of your clean bare hands.


When should the hands be washed?

Wash your hands thoroughly before you:

  • handle, prepare, serve, or touch food, Handling
  • handle food utensils and set the table,
  • touch raw meat, poultry, or fish,
  • eat, drink, or feed food to children,
  • put away clean dishes,
  • give medication.


Wash your hands thoroughly after you:

  • arrive at the site for the day,
  • handle raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs,
  • use the bathroom or assist a child in the bathroom,
  • handle a child who is ill or give medication,
  • come in contact with any bodily fluids (e.g., urine, blood, feces, vomit, mucus, spit),
  • sneeze or cough into tissues or hands,
  • get your hands dirty, or have been cleaning, or working outside,
  • wipe noses, mouths, bottoms, sores or cuts,
  • handle pets, or other animals, or garbage.


If a Caregiver Has an Illness or Infected Injury

People who are ill and handle food can easily spread their illness to others, including children. Therefore, the following caregivers should not handle food for:

  • those who have signs or symptoms of illness (including vomiting, diarrhea, and infectious skin sores that cannot be covered); and
  • those who may be infected with bacteria or viruses that can be carried in food.



Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Preparation Areas, Equipment, Feeding Dishes and Utensils, and Dining Areas

Clean and sanitize all food preparation, food service, and dining areas (including countertops, tables, and high chairs) before and after each meal. Clean and sanitize all food preparation equipment, dishes and utensils for serving and feeding after each use and store them in a clean and sanitary manner.


Before and after preparing and serving food, the following should be washed with soap and hot water and then rinsed thoroughly with hot water:

  • all surfaces used to prepare food, including countertops and tables,
  • food preparation equipment and utensils (including food warmers),
  • food service and dining areas (including highchairs).


After washing, sanitize all of the above according to applicable Federal, State, and local food service rules and regulations for centers, small and large family child care homes, and other public institutions serving food to children. Follow applicable Federal, State, and local guidelines if a dishwashing machine is used for sanitization.


Note: Do not use Styrofoam cups and plates and breakable disposable plastic utensils. Swallowed Styrofoam pieces or broken plastic utensil pieces can cause choking or other injuries.


Clothing of Caregiver Involved in Food Preparation or Handling

Providers and staff should wear clean clothing and aprons when working with food. Consult with your State agency about requirements for wearing rubber or latex gloves or other types of protective clothing.


Refrigerator and Freezer Temperature

The refrigerator in the facility should be set at a temperature of 40° Fahrenheit or below and should be checked regularly with an appliance thermometer. The temperature in a freezer should be 0° Fahrenheit or below and should be checked regularly with an appliance thermometer. Have the appliances checked immediately by a qualified repairperson if the temperatures are above those levels.


Reducing Lead Exposure from Food

To reduce the chances that a child will be exposed to lead from food:

  • Store foods or beverages in covered plastic or regular glass food storage containers. After opening canned foods or beverages, store the leftover food or beverage in such containers. Do not store food or beverages in their opened cans.
  • Do not feed children any canned imported foods or beverages—these cans may have lead seams (lead in seams can leak into the food).
  • Do not use decorative or ornamental ceramic ware or pottery, especially if imported from another country, for cooking, storing, or serving food or beverages. Imported dishware may release toxic levels of lead into food.
  • Do not cook, store, or serve foods or beverages using:

—Leaded crystal (glass) bowls, pitchers, or other containers, or

—Antique ceramic or pewter vessels, dishes, or utensils.


These items can release toxic amounts of lead into food.


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