A majority of El Paso County school cafeterias have had at least one critical food safety violation in the last two years.
An analysis of health inspection records by the Gazette shows that 60 percent of the cafeterias, from nearly every school district, had at least one of these violations. The 271 critical violations include evidence of insects or rodents, having damaged or spoiled foods and workers not washing their hands. Forty schools had three or more violations.
The county's largest school district, District 11, had the largest number of critical violations. District food services manager Rick Hughes says there hasn't been a single case of foodborne illness there in at least the past 22 years. It serves an estimated 24,000 meals a day.