ServSafe certification: Food service continues to follow best practices related to cross-contamination prevention

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District has long-standing procedures in place to accommodate students with food intolerances or allergies, recognizing that those allergies could be life-threatening.

If your child has an intolerance or allergic reaction to a particular type of food, e.g., dairy, gluten or peanuts, please send a note to your child’s school nurse identifying any type of food your child cannot eat, and, if applicable, describe other types of contacts with the allergen that may cause a reaction.

The district’s food service department has always taken great effort to avoid cross-contamination for nut allergies. All areas where foods containing nut ingredients are made are sanitized prior to preparing other foods. In addition, the district requires all cook managers to hold and maintain ServSafe certification, which includes measures related to cross-contamination and food allergy prevention.

So while district officials believe that (with the exception of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter chews) all foods prepared in district kitchens are nut-free, please know that it is not possible to give a guarantee. Those foods, including baked goods that are nut-free, are made in a facility that also produces products that include peanut or tree-nut ingredients. It is for that reason the district cannot guarantee there is no risk of cross contamination.

“This does not represent a change in policy or procedure, and food service staff will continue to follow the best practices and procedures that the district has had—and will continue to have—in place,” Superintendent Craig J. Tice said. “Similar to most restaurants that cannot guarantee that there is no possibility of cross-contamination, we also can only do our very best to minimize the risk.”

As part of its efforts to reduce the likelihood of students having an allergic reaction to food provided by the district, staff also regularly reviews food ingredient labels to identify the presence of peanuts and other allergens in the food products that it serves.

Recently, a question was raised about whether the Otis Spunkmeyer pre-packaged cookies offered in the middle and high school cafeterias and Snack Shacks are safe for students with a peanut allergy. The manufacturer states that the product does not contain any nuts and is prepared in a separate area away from where nut-containing items are produced. Therefore, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, which do not contain nut products within its ingredients, will continue to be sold in the middle and high school cafeterias and Snack Shacks.

With regard to allergies, no schools in the district are allergen-free and the risk of accidental exposure or cross-contamination is always present. While the district requests that students and parents be mindful of other students having food intolerances and allergies, it cannot promise that the foods brought to school by those students will be allergen-free foods. To accommodate those students with known food intolerances or allergies, each school building has designated nut-free classrooms and areas in its cafeterias.

We feel it is important that parents have an understanding of the steps we take to minimize the risk of cross-contamination so that informed decisions can be made.

If you have any questions about the district’s efforts to minimize the likelihood of a student’s exposure to known food allergens, please contact F-M Assistant Superintendent for Business Services William Furlong at or at 315-692-1221.