Sharing is Caring

School Nutrition’s monthly To Your Credit feature is always chock-full of factoids and interesting statistics. November 2017’s article by Sharon Schaefer, SNS, school nutrition chef, speaker, educator and contributor, is no exception. Take the quiz to gain yourself a CEU, read through to just enjoy or reap the extra benefits of the four-page piece, titled “Do You Dare to SHARE?” by snagging the ideas for your own school nutrition operation. Included here is a sample Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for share tables to make the most of them at your school.

To be safe, effective and compliant with regulations related to school meal programs, a Share Table initiative should be developed with a very clear understanding of federal, state and local requirements and constraints. Start by reading USDA’s June 22, 2016 memo on this topic.

In addition, it’s recommended that a SOP be developed specifically for a Share Table program. An SOP represents all the different nuts and bolts of how a particular process or initiative is coordinated. This document can ensure that everyone on the team understands every step—and that there is a reference to turn to when in doubt. A sample SOP for Share Tables follows. Note that the information is generic and should be updated by each individual SFA (school food authority) to address the specific resources and appropriate federal, state and local regulations that apply for your program.

Sample Standard Operating Procedure

Share Table

Policy: All personnel will follow the guidelines outlined for Share Tables to ensure the safety of food served to all children.

Procedures: All employees, volunteers and school meal monitors will implement Share Tables using the following steps:

  1. Only designated items can be shared.
  2. All shared items need to be unused and
    1. be sealed or otherwise pre-packaged (i.e. milk carton, commercially packaged chips);
    2. be covered in an inedible rind/skin, (i.e. oranges and bananas); and/or
    3. be whole and washable (i.e. apples and pears).
  3. At the beginning of each meal period, a designated foodservice employee will:
    1. Fill the blue igloo cooler, labeled “Share Table,” with ice.
    2. Use a clean foodservice cart to transport the ice-filled cooler and a clean basket lined with a napkin to the cafeteria.
    3. The cart should be positioned close to the exit but prior to the trashcans and recycling bins.
    4. Display a “What’s Sharable” Poster on cart.
  4. During the entire meal period, the Share Table will be monitored by a trained lunch aid.
  5. Beginning 1 hour after each meal period has begun a designated employee will take the temperature of any potentially hazardous items, including but not limited to, milk. Time and temperature will be recorded on the “Share Table Temp Log” by the same employee.
    1. If a meal period is less than 1 hour, time and temperatures should be recorded at the end of the meal service and marked in the log.
  6. At the end of each meal period a designated foodservice employee will:
    1. Discard any items that have been in the danger zone for any period of time.
    2. Sanitize any whole and washable items.
    3. Prepare all items for a donation to the local food bank.
    4. Clean and sanitize cooler.
    5. Return cart and all supplies to storage area.

The unit supervisor will:

  1. Monitor all employees to ensure they are following proper procedures.
  2. Ensure that adequate supplies are available (e.g. cart, basket, cooler, signage) and that specific storage areas have been defined.
  3. Maintain time and temperature logs for the required amount of time.
  4. Follow up as necessary.

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