May 29, 2024

Waipahu School Warned of Food Safety Violations in September

The food service staff at Waipahu Elementary School where at least 30 children were sickened last week were warned of food safety violations in September, according to the Honolulu Star Adviser. Apparently pasta was improperly cooled and held at the wrong temperature then. And that’s what caused the outbreak in early December 2013.

SpaghettiPasta and rice, along with meats, cheeses, and eggs, must be quickly and thoroughly cooled to below 40 degrees F, then quickly reheated to at least 165 degrees F before serving again. And these foods must be held at temperatures above 140 degrees F to prevent bacterial growth.

Public health officials suspect that in this current outbreak, spaghetti was not cooled quickly enough, then was not reheated hot enough to kill bacteria. The inspection in September was part of a routine semester visit. At that time, staff was told how to correct the problem and was told to follow established time and temperature controls for safe food handling.

Those who got sick experienced dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and feeling clammy and sweaty. Those are classic symptoms of food poisoning. Officials have not yet said which pathogenic bacteria caused the outbreak, but are still investigating. While some students were transported to the hospital from the school for treatment, there is no word on whether anyone was actually hospitalized.


  1. Food such as milk, custard and previously prepared meat dishes are the chief sources. Most causes are due to some strain of staphylococci which produce a heat stable enterotoxin.

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