The Snohomish Health District recently recognized the Marysville-Pilchuck High School’s cafeteria with its Health Champion Award for food safety.
The M-PHS food workers were honored on April 6 for maintaining a safe environment for students and the food.
M-PHS has been recognized with the award once before in 2014.
“It’s about keeping a healthy kitchen, safety practices, and maintaining safe procedures for our food,” said LaToya Morris, director of child nutrition at the Marysville School District.
The health district gave the kitchen at M-PHS zero violations on their last health and safety inspection, said Morris, but she didn’t know they would be honored with an award.
“It was exciting,” she said, “knowing that you’re doing what you should be doing is always a bonus.”
Keeping food safe is something the kitchen staff should be doing regardless, said Morris, “but getting an award for it is just a nice pat on the back for the team.”
Danny Vasquez, assistant director of child nutrition at the district, said that food safety is something that the district is always working on.
“It’s our number one priority. We’re here to make sure all of our students are safe,” he said.
Working on feeding hundreds of students every weekday can be a lot of work as well.
“It’s a very well oiled machine, and it takes everyone walking into the kitchen to maintain their own standard to keep up the standards of the district,” said Vasquez.
There are, however, a lot of different ways that machine can break, he added.
“You have your daily, weekly and monthly things you have to do to make sure the food remains safe,” said Morris.
“If there is an issue with broken equipment, a place where an employee could fall, or an oven that’s not working right, we want to make sure that we’re being proactive so that we’re not causing any health safety concerns for our team,” she said.
Marysville staff said they are happy that the M-PHS food workers have been recognized for their work.
“We’re very proud of this team. They work very hard,” said Vasquez. “This award shows that they really do care about their students and the food they’re putting out there."
M-PHS principal Dave Rose said he was also very proud of the group.
“They do a wonderful job and they’re very flexible for us. We don’t always stick to the same schedule and the way they perform at a high level and give us quality service is just amazing,” he said.