Pine Belt school fails Food Facility Inspection

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Most schools consider a "C" as average, however receiving a "C" from the Mississippi State Department of Health is considered failing, and that's exactly what one Pine Belt school received just two days ago.

With more than 330 students enrolled at the Hattiesburg facility, Hawkins Elementary recently scored a "C" on their latest Food Facility Inspection.

"We are working real hard to correct that violation, it's with a hand washing sink for our employees," said Hattiesburg Public School District Child Nutrition Director Stephanie Hoze.

According to Mississippi State Department of Health records, the school also failed the food facility inspection in 2013 for food not being separated and protected, along with surfaces not being cleaned and sanitized.

The Hawkins 2014 score carried a not in compliance rating in two categories, hands clean and properly washed, and adequate accessible hand washing facilities.

According to the Health Department the cafeteria sink where employees are designated to wash their hands was not working properly, causing employees to wash their hands where they prepare the food.

"The sink does work, but it's a very slow drain, there is hot water, all of the compliance and requirements are there, it's an extremely slow drain," said Hoze.

The school's violations will be re-assessed during another inspection on August 23rd.

"There is a two compartment sink in our kitchen that is used as an extra sink for food preparation, but we never use that sink and we haven't used it in years, and that two compartment sink is being used by the employees currently for hand washing," said Hoze.

When questioned if the violations are acceptable for the school, Hoze had this to say.

"It's not acceptable to any of our employees or staff here at the Hattiesburg Public School District and we continue to work on this every day," said Hoze.