Prevalence of food production systems in school foodservice.J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 Aug; 105(8):1261-5.JA
What is the prevalence of central kitchens that use either cook-chill or cook-freeze production systems in school foodservice settings?
A descriptive study using a 5-minute telephone survey during normal working hours was conducted. Questions were designed to be easily answered with minimal need to reference other documentation.
Five hundred forty school foodservice directors, managers, and supervisors working in school districts of all sizes across the United States were randomly sampled from a national commercial directory of school districts for the study. A total of 353 individuals completed the survey representing 49 of 50 states.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Means, standard deviations, and percentages were evaluated for all data collected.
STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED
Descriptive statistics of school district characteristics, prevalence of production systems, food transport systems, inventory methods and equipment used for reheating food are reported.
The most frequently reported production system was on-site kitchens (45.3%) followed by combination production systems (40.5%) where a central kitchen delivered to a number of satellite locations in addition to schools with on-site food preparation. Central kitchens without additional on-site kitchens represented 14.2% of this study. Of those school districts using either central kitchens or combination production systems, 78% reported hot-food preparation using hot-food delivery to satellites. Cook-chill or cook-freeze production systems were reported by 22% of respondents.
The high proportion of school districts that prepared and delivered foods hot to satellite sites supports continuing efforts to identify food safety practices and issues related to maintaining food quality in schools.