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Lack of hygiene at crèche canteens

DIRTY KITCHENS, plates, cutlery and poorly washed salads were the main problems discovered by consumer protection group DECO in its investigation into hygiene standards at pre-school establishments.

From the 30 nurseries visited, not one scored full marks.

Researchers from Pro Teste, DECO’s magazine, visited pre-school establishments catering for children aged between three and six years in the Greater Porto and Greater Lisbon areas.

DECO found dirty doors, walls, ceilings, flooring, cupboards and rubbish bins with no lids, as well as grimy extractor fans and air vents.

Some of the kitchens did not have any protective screens at the doors and windows to prevent insects entering and, at the Massamá e Jardim de Cabêda pre-school in Greater Porto, the kitchen led into the bathrooms.

According to DECO, the salads served in the canteens were not always washed adequately and there was a lack of refrigeration and storage facilities for food items.

The most serious case in terms of a lack of hygiene was detected at Voz do Operário in Lisbon, which was given a “poor” rating. Three establishments obtained an “average/mediocre” rating: Fundação Adolfo Vieira de Briton in Lisbon and the Fundação Couto and Colégio Paulo VI in Greater Porto. At the other end of the scale, five nurseries received a “very good” rating: Sagrado Coração de Maria, Salesianos do Estoril and Básica Nº 4 da Rinchoa in Greater Lisbon and Jardim Os Girassóis and Infantário Doremi in Greater Porto.

DECO demands greater responsibility is taken.

DECO blames the management of the crèches for the problems and lack of hygiene, demanding in a better conditions and explanatory training for staff, because it considers that many problems are the result of “staff being unaware”. DECO emphasizes that the Autoridade de Segurança Alimentar e Económica, the authority for food safety and economics “must continue to assure efficient control within the sector”.