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Health department launches investigation into Hazelwood School District after News 4 report

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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Florissant, Mo. (KMOV) - The St. Louis County Health Department confirms the Hazelwood School District is under investigation following a News 4 report. The health department also confirms a new complaint against Hazelwood East Senior High School was filed Thursday.

“I did reach out to the Hazelwood School District after I had learned about all of these complaints,” said Environmental Services Director Carrie Dickhans, of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “Honestly, I’m not sure if there is a food safety issue at hand. It seems much more like a quality issue.”

Parents told News 4 the school meals in the district are spoiled and unacceptable. One mom compared the school lunch to prison after she said her daughter got sick.

“I was disgusted. Maybe going to the news and through the health department will maybe get them to change,” she said.

New documents from the health department show the Hazelwood School District has been investigated for food safety complaints five times since September 2021.

The reports accuse the district of “roaches crawling around on the food”, “mouse traps in the kitchen”, “serving children leftover food lunches”, and giving “students molded food and spoiled milk.”

However, the health department said it found no violations during its investigation.

“I can certainly understand the concern if the food doesn’t seem palatable to your child and they do not have anything to eat at school. It isn’t something that’s enforceable or regulated,” said Dickhans.

Dickhans said the health department is not responsible for quality meals in schools but is mandated to inspect for food safety.

“The things we look for during inspections are food temperatures, whether or not things are being held to proper cold or hot holding temperatures, if things are being cooked properly to the correct temperature. We’re also looking for cleanliness,” says Dickhans.

Overall, health officials said the best way to fix bad food practices is to report them.

“They can be assured that we are investigating every single complaint that comes to us.”

To file a complaint with the Department of Public Health call 314-615-8900 or email Food.dph@stlouiscountymo.gov.