cleaning the lunch table

Posted on: Tue, 02/03/2004 - 1:05am
Dawn's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

Please help...I'm wondering what your opinions are on this matter.

Last year, ds sat at the table with his class. I always worried about how it was cleaned, so I went there everyday to clean it before he sat down. I was afraid to ask for too many concessions and didn't want him sitting at the "pnt free" (a misnomer, based on what I'd seen) table on the other side of the room. After awhile, I was sort of pushed out of the lunchroom (a long sordid story) but was assured that ds would be safe. And he was.

Just before school started, I learned of several more pa kids joining the school and a plan was put in place, decided on at a meeting with the teachers, principal and a few pa parents who were a part of the staff. There would be pnt free zones at the end of the class's lunchroom table that were cleaned with a separate bucket of water and cloth. This would eliminate pnt residue. There were also signs on the end of the tables and chairs declaring those areas pnt free. I supplied all items. At the time, the assistant cook was a pa parent and she made sure the tables were cleaned. She has since left and now no one feels the need to follow the plan. The principal and pastor created a pnt free table again but I am not sure it is being cleaned appropriately, which would make the pnt free table senseless.

Am I making too much of my son's eating area being cleaned with a clean cloth? It seems elementary to me, but apparently not to others. This could become a very big issue...I've left out most of the story because it's just plain ugly. Suffice it to say that the head cafeteria lady does not like me, nor does the new assistant.

Help!! [img][/img]

Posted on: Tue, 02/03/2004 - 3:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Dawn.
I used to work in a school lunch room. I had disagreements regarding the cleaning process (or lack there of) and it didn't even have anything to do with allergies - just plain hygene.
Would it be possible (at least temporarily) to have your son bring a place mat to cover his eating area? If you could pick up a supply of cheap, machine washable ones he could have a clean one each day. I realize you have bigger issues here to deal with, but this might help to keep him safe while everything else gets worked out.

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2004 - 10:32am
Dawn's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

Thank you, AnnaMarie, for your response. I really appreciate it. Sometimes this allergy can be isolating, as I guess any "condition" can be.
I had hoped for more responses, wondering what the consensus on contaminated water might be, but alas, I am nearly all alone here, too. [img][/img]
[This message has been edited by Dawn (edited February 04, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2004 - 10:54am
cooper's picture
Joined: 12/20/2002 - 09:00

Dawn, I agree that washing down tables with the same water is asking for cross contamination. Reminds me of how ice cream places put the scoops in those containers of standing water. But, yikes it's really disgusting to think about reusing water to wipe tables anyway.
So discouraging that everything has to be so hard sometimes. Wishing you good luck with this Dawn.

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2004 - 11:45am
Shaylynsmom's picture
Joined: 01/17/2004 - 09:00

Dawn, Your right. It should just be common sense that you would need to have a clean bucket of water for the peanut free table. But as we all know, there are quite a few who are lacking in that area. Sounds like you have found some.
I have no idea why it is such a big deal for one person to be in charge of that table everyday, make sure it is wiped off before ds eats, wipe it off after ds eats and do the same thing everyday with a clean bucket of water just for the peanut free table. Seems like such a small thing to ask doesn't it? Guess not since you are having so many problems.
I am sorry for that, along with all the other worries of PA, like you really needed to worry about this again. Hope it all works out.
Alicia, mom to:
Edward-20 years-non PA
Cody-8 years-non PA
Shaylyn-4 years-PA/TNA,Asthma

Posted on: Wed, 02/04/2004 - 12:24pm
Lindajo's picture
Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

I worked in the cafeteria at my DD's school as a lunch aide. We used to clean our tables the same way, a bucket of water and the same cloth for every table. Yuck! However, the peanut free table got it's own bottle of cleaner and a sanitizer, and you had to use a paper towel to clean it. Now, all the tables in the lunch room are cleaned this way. Water doesn't clean anything, escpecially not all the crap that goes on those tables after the kids get through with their lunch!
Also, sometimes my DD buys lunch. They have washable trays that get run through the dishwasher at high temps with sanitizer as well. I don't use these trays for my DD's lunch, as sometimes they don't come out of the dishwasher clean. I put her lunch on a disposable tray.
Hope this helps!
(Edited because my "b" key keeps getting stuck!-Lindajo)
[This message has been edited by Lindajo (edited February 04, 2004).]
[This message has been edited by Lindajo (edited February 04, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 02/05/2004 - 4:46am
moon's picture
Joined: 09/10/2002 - 09:00

I posted a topic related to this issue a year or so ago, so this may be a good time to reiterate some important things. As for cleaning the lunch tables, I would suggest that you check with the school to see what type of cleaning product that they are using. They should be using a good food-grade degreasing cleaner, not a simple sanitizing agent such as bleach and water. Disinfectants and sanitizers kill germs very well, but the allergens in peanut products are not germs, therefore they need to be cleaned with chemicals that will remove them.

Posted on: Thu, 02/05/2004 - 7:17am
Dawn's picture
Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

Thank you, all, for your replies!
AnnaMarie, since I learned that the tables were not being cleaned, he has been using a dishtowel as a placemat, and then, of course, I think about what he is rolling back up into his lunchbox when he puts the towel away. I think I'll look into something disposable...wax paper maybe? Would that work?
moon, they had been using dish-detergent, which I am okay with...[i]if they would use it[/i]! The cafeteria staff say they don't have time to clean the tables between lunches, let alone use the separate pnt-free-labeled bucket that I bought. So that is my gripe. That [i]if[/i] the pnt free areas do get wiped down, it is with the same yucky cloth and water used on the rest of the tables where students are eating pb&j's. To me, just smearing the pnt protein around.
Lindajo, I like the spray bottle idea...ds's teachers have been using wipes, since we are "not allowed" to bring out the naughty pnt-free bucket, but I think I might go get a spray bottle with some grease-lifting stuff in it. Thank you!
cooper and Shaylynsmom, thank you - sometimes I feel like I'm asking for something reasonable but then when it becomes so difficult, I doubt myself. Thank you for not making me feel batty!

Posted on: Tue, 02/10/2004 - 12:34am
momofjen's picture
Joined: 10/07/2002 - 09:00

I give my daugher a double piece of paper towel to place her lunch on. That way she doesn't have to bring it home everyday. We do this in a restaurant also. I don't even want to think about how they clean their tables.

Posted on: Tue, 02/10/2004 - 1:43am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I too give DS 2 paper towels to use as a placemat. Although yesterday he showed me his new way. He eats right out of his lunchbox. As he explained to me, that way his "whatever" can't fall off the paper towel. (he's 7) I couldn't argue with that. I still give him paper towels every morning.

Posted on: Wed, 03/10/2004 - 1:07am
SF's picture
Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

I need some help with finding a cleaning agent for our school to use on our peanut free table.
I am in search of the name and manufacturer of a cleaning product that will clean any residue off the table.
Our school is also requesting an MSDS sheet (Material Safety Data Sheet)for any cleaning product that we would like them to use.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!


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