New York City

Mice, Roaches, Flies Found in NYC's 31 Dirtiest Public School Cafeterias: Report

Among inspector findings were 400 mouse droppings in a Gramercy Park public school cafeteria

What to Know

  • New York State senators revealed the dirtiest public school cafeterias throughout the city Thursday afternoon
  • Inspectors found 442 violations for mice at over 300 public school cafeterias
  • 31 schools would have received a "C" grade based on the city's restaurant grading system

Healthy eating isn't the only reason to start packing a lunch for your kids — mice droppings, fruit flies and roaches are some of the vermin mingling alongside the food in New York City's public school cafeterias.

A new investigative report by the state senate and school advocates reveals 31 schools throughout the five boroughs that would have received a "C" under the city's restaurant letter grading system.

In addition to the schools listed are the number of violations and the types of vermin found during the inspections, which took place at 61 schools over a three-year period.

The grading system awards a certain number of points based on the violation of a regulation; 28 or more points constitutes a "C" grade, thus, the less points, the better. 

Inspectors found 442 total violations for mice at more than 300 cafeterias in the city's public schools. Senator Jeffrey D. Klein suggests that the city adopt a grading system for its school cafeterias similar to the one used for restaurants.

"It's common sense that we would have a letter grade system for cafeterias," said Mona Davis, president of the New York City Parents Union. "If we are going to protect adults in restaurants, we need to also protect kids at school."

The schools with the highest number of violations were P.S./I.S. 192 in 
Brooklyn with 15 violations, as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn and In-Tech Academy M.S./H.S. 368 in the Bronx with 14 violations each. Vermin found at the three schools range from filth and fruit flies to mice. 

Despite the report, the Department of Health says school cafeterias outperform health inspections, with 86 percent earning the equivalent of an "A" grade on inspections compared to 59 percent of restuarants. 

"The Health Department and DOE work closely together to correct violations quickly," health officials said. "Students can be confident that schools are serving food that is safe for them to eat."

P.S./M.S. 147 received a 48 inspection score, the worst on the list. The school incurred eight violations during an April 2016 inspection, which uncovered drain flies and mice at the Queens school. 

Roaches are crawling through the cafeterias of I.S. 211 in Brooklyn, PS. 16 on Staten Island, P.S. 214 in Queens and P.S. 33 in Chelsea. 

The Department of Education says that it will work to improve public accessibility to the cafeteria reports.

"We are dedicated to providing students with nutritious meals in cafeterias that are clean and safe, and will work with the Department of Health to make the reports more easily accessible to the public," said Department of Education Spokeswoman Toya Holness. 

Public schools are a smorgasbord: roughly 55 percent of the city's dirtiest cafeterias are infested with mice. Inspectors found 400 mouse droppings in one visit at the Sixth Avenue Elementary School's cafeteria, which racked up 41 points for 12 violations.

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