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450 health code violations, including rodent droppings, found at RI school cafeterias

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health officials have found hundreds of health code violations in cafeterias at schools across Rhode Island.

WPRI-TV reports that a review of state Department of Health records found at least 450 health violations. The number is likely larger because 56 schools were marked for re-inspection, and some have been inspected multiple times.

“Schools are really important because we have a lot of little kids,” said Cathy Feeney, chief of the agency’s retail food service program. “If one thing goes wrong, a lot of people can get sick.”

Rodent droppings were found at the middle school and at an elementary school in East Greenwich. Records show inspectors returned to both schools several times in October and November.

Victor Mercurio, the East Greenwich superintendent, said the district is working with a pest control company.

Schools in communities including Barrington, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket have also been flagged for pest problems.

Inspectors have also found other issues including debris on surfaces, dumpsters in the wrong place and appliances in poor repair. Several schools were forced to throw out food because it was not stored at the proper temperature.

None of the violations discovered in any of the schools have resulted in the closure of a cafeteria.

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