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David Douglas food safety record fairly clear

Lawsuit questions high school head cook's safety record

The government agencies linked to the David Douglas School District say they haven’t seen any widespread illness or major violations of food safety at its high school cafeterias.

“We’ve been advised not to talk about this issue (due to pending litigation),” says school district spokesman Dan McCue, but, he adds: “I feel comfortable saying that no, we don’t have any schoolwide illness attributable to food.”

The district’s record was called into question by a $750,000 lawsuit filed Aug. 12 claiming that David Douglas High School Head Cook Kim Fragall was negligent in her duties and that school district officials declined to investigate complaints of violations and retaliatory actions against complainants.

But records from the Multnomah County Health Department, which certifies the high school kitchens, found only rare violations of food safety rules.

“Schools have a lot of checks and balances that restaurants don’t,” says health department spokeswoman Julie Sullivan. “School cafeterias are some of the safest places on Earth to eat, because of those checks and balances.”

In the five inspections since 2012, the one on Sept. 19, 2014, was the only one listing critical violations: An expired ham needed to be thrown out, as did an employee’s bottle of water in the work area. A bleach bucket contained just water and not sanitizing solution.

The most recent inspection, on Feb. 10, showed no critical violations.

District spokesman McCue declined to say if Fragall was involved in a summer lunch program that partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation. Lunch in the Park with Portland Parks & Recreation ran nearly every day from June 18 to Sept. 4. Parks Bureau spokesman Mark Ross said they received no reports of spoiled food or illness.

“Ms. Fragall does not work for Portland Parks & Recreation, nor have we heard of any issues of any sort this summer around David Douglas or any other lunches,” Ross said.

But the lawyer for three food service workers who are suing the district says they have photographic evidence of hundreds of pounds of over-

ordered meat, employees taking food home and other “crazy stuff” under Fragall’s leadership.

“She’s the problem, but it’s not her fault,” says attorney Mark Morrell, who said the group is still worried about food safety at the school and looking forward to discovery of documents through the court process that they hope will confirm their case.

McCue says Fragall is still a district employee, as she has been since 1999. She makes $20.95 per hour as head cook.

The district is expected to file its responding arguments by the end of September.

See the county health records:

Jan. 31, 2012

Sept. 14, 2012

Jan. 15, 2013

Sept. 19, 2014

Feb. 10, 2015

Shasta Kearns Moore
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