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Implementation of HACCP in Schools

Food safety is of primary importance in school foodservice, yet prior to the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 2004, the majority of school districts had not implemented Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs due to constraints of time, money, and labor. To address this issue, researchers in the Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management program at Iowa State University received a 3-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the amount $470,000. Work on the project began October 1, 2001 and concluded the project September 30, 2004.

Since the project was initiated, the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 mandated several important changes to school foodservice operations including:

  • school foodservice operations be inspected at least 2 times per year,
  • states audit health inspections and USDA audits state data,
  • schools post health inspection reports in a public place and provide a copy on request,
  • "each school food authority shall implement a school food safety program, in the preparation and service of each meal served to children, that complies with any hazard analysis and critical control point system established by the Secretary."

The goal of this project was to:

Develop a mentoring model for HACCP implementation in school foodservice programs to increase the number of school districts that have comprehensive HACCP programs.

Specific objectives of the project included:

  1. Determined “best practices” and implementation strategies for successful HACCP programs used in school foodservice operations nationwide to form the basis for model development;
  2. Developed sample HACCP resources appropriate for school foodservice operations with on-site production and use Iowa State University’s (ISU) Food Safety web site for national distribution of those resources;
  3. Increased employees’ knowledge of food safety and improved their food handling practices in school foodservice operations; and
  4. Developed and tested a HACCP implementation mentoring model.

Key Components of the Project

  • The research team was guided by an advisory committee comprised of members from the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, Iowa State University, Iowa State University Extension, and district school foodservice directors.
  • To determine best practices and implementation strategies for HACCP, a focus group of school foodservice directors who had implemented HACCP was assembled November 2001. School foodservice directors who had implemented HACCP programs also were surveyed to help determine best practices used nationwide.
  • Forty school districts were identified in the state of Iowa to participate in the project. Five employees from each school participating in the study were offered the opportunity to receive ServSafe® training and certification. In addition, schools received onsite inservice training for all employees, HACCP training for managers, and individualized consultation for implementing their HACCP programs.
  • Resources were developed to assist school foodservice directors with HACCP. They were made available on the Iowa State University Food Safety Project web site. Examples include documentation forms, flow diagrams, and standard operating procedures.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of the HACCP training program, a visual audit of food safety practices before and after implementation was conducted in the schools. Swabs will be done on food contact surfaces and major pieces of foodservice equipment for microbial analyses and employees were given a knowledge pre- and posttest.
  • A mentoring network was formed between school foodservice directors to help each other facilitate implementing HACCP and address issues within their operations was formed. Networking also was facilitated between the research team, local health departments, and extension field specialists.

Other Information
Though the project was done through Iowa State University, the research team is communicating project results with the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) and the School Nutrition Association. The HACCP implementation and training program were based on materials developed by the Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (HRIM) Extension program at Iowa State University, NFMSI, and the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe® program. All resource materials is available for national distribution on the ISU Food Safety web site -

Refereed Journal Publications from the Project:

  • Henroid, Jr., D.H., Mendonca, A.F., & Sneed, J. (2004). Microbiological Evaluation of Food Contact Surfaces in Iowa Schools. Food Protection Trends, 24, 682-685.
  • Henroid, Jr., D.H. & Sneed, J. (2004). Readiness to Implement Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems in Iowa schools. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104, 180-185.
  • Sneed, J. & Henroid, Jr., D.H. (2003). HACCP Implementation in School Foodservice: Perspectives of Foodservice Directors. The Journal of Child and Nutrition Management, 27(1),
  • Henroid, Jr., D.H. (2003). Resources for the Development of HACCP Systems in School Foodservice. The Journal of Child and Nutrition Management, 27(1),

Other Refereed Journal Publications related to School HACCP written by ISU HRIM faculty:

  • Almanza, B, & Sneed, J. (2003). Food safety and HACCP in school foodservice. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, 27(1). Available at:
  • Youn, S., & Sneed, J. (2003). Implementation of HACCP and prerequisite programs in school foodservice. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103, 55-60.
  • Youn, S., & Sneed, J. (2002). Training and perceived barriers to implementing food safety practices in school foodservice. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, 26(2). Available at:
  • Giampaoli, J., Cluskey, M., & Sneed, J. (2002). Food safety practices of employees in school foodservice. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, 26(1), Available at:
  • Giampaoli, J., Sneed, J., Cluskey, M., & Koenig, H. (2002). School foodservice directors’ attitudes and perceived challenges to implementing food safety and HACCP programs. The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, 26(1), Available at: