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Should state school cafeterias receive letter ratings like NYC restaurants?

Question raised after review of city school lunchrooms finds issues like roaches and mice

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Lawmakers reviewed cafeteria inspections for schools across New York City finding issues like mice and roaches, right inside the room designated for lunch.

On Thursday, New York Sen. Jeff Klein announced plans to back legislation that would demand the health department to rate cafeterias like New York City restaurants with a letter grade system.

In a press release Sen. Klein said:

"When parents send their children to school they expect them to be in a safe, cleanly environment throughout the day, including during their lunch period. This report shows that many of the cafeterias in our city schools have racked up numerous health code violations..."

But for Rockland County, this does not seem to be a problem.

John Stoughton, the Rockland County Department of Health senior sanitarian says he does not believe a letter-grade system is the best strategy for Rockland County's 101 school cafeterias under permit. He says around one or two restaurants a month gets shut down for violations, out of the 1,000 that the county has. In his 35 years in the position, he has never had to shut down a Rockland school cafeteria.

However, they are considering a new system, issuing a certificate of excellence for restaurants who have outstanding reports.

For parents who are curious about their children's school, public inspection reports can be accessed online at the Rockland County Department of Health website.

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