Topic Overview

When evaluating a child care center, ask about how food is handled
and what types of eating areas are provided.

  • Are meals or snacks prepared on-site? If so,
    where? What types of food are provided?
  • Are there any restrictions
    on what types of food children can bring?

Ask about the food preparation areas. Make sure the following
standards are met:

  • Counters and tabletops are
  • Appliances are in good repair.
  • Cutting boards
    are nonporous (plastic, glass, or Formica; not wood).
  • Ready-to-eat
    foods are prepared and kept separately from uncooked products, such as raw
  • Cabinets and refrigerators are clean and
  • Either disposable dishes and utensils are used, or all
    nondisposable dishes are cleaned in a dishwasher with water heated above
    160°F (71.1°C).

Ask the following questions about how food is stored, prepared, and

  • Are all food containers labeled? Are children’s
    individual meals (including breast milk) labeled with a name, date, and type of
  • How are child care and food preparation duties separated? If
    the same person is responsible for both, are the guidelines for hand-washing
    after diapering strictly enforced?
  • Are any raw foods prepared? If
    so, how? (Raw meats, raw eggs, or any products that contain raw eggs should not
    be served.)
  • Are children taught not to share food, utensils, or
    plates? How are spills handled? Are all items that are dropped on the floor


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD – Pediatrics

Current as ofMay 4, 2017

Current as of:
May 4, 2017