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Biosecurity Checklist for School Foodservice Programs
Step 1: Establish a school foodservice biosecurity management team.

Most schools already have a crisis management, emergency preparedness, school security, Food-Safe School, school safety, or school improvement team(s) and related action plan(s) in place. To reduce duplication of policies and procedures, one or more of these existing groups may decide to take on biosecurity responsibilities.

A food biosecurity management team should include both in-house members and external members:
In-house members
  • should have primary responsibility for developing and implementing the plan,
  • may include, but are not limited to, the foodservice manager, principal, a professional with a science background (for some schools this would be a science teacher), custodian, school nurse, school security guard, and an interested parent.
  • may also include members of other school teams such as crisis management, school security, Food-Safe School, school safety, or school improvement teams.
External members
  • may serve as advisors or consultants throughout the process,
  • may include, but are not limited to, an environmental health specialist/sanitarian, health official, public health nurse, or epidemiologist associated with the local health department; a School Food Authority or State Child Nutrition Program representative; a local law enforcement official, a School Board official, and/or a team member from a neighboring school that already has a biosecurity management plan in place.
Once the team is established, choose a team leader and alternate team leader.

Step 2: Together as a team, go through all the checklists on pages 6 through 31 and rate the priority level of each measure.

The priority level of each security measure should be based on the usefulness or urgency of that measure for your school. As you evaluate the priority for each item write your rating — high, medium, low, or not applicable — in the space provided. Some rating examples follow:

High: An action that responds to an emergency has high priority, for example, maintaining an up-todate emergency contact list of first responders is critical in an emergency and therefore should have a high level of priority. An action that prevents an act of bioterrorism, such as addressing critical production areas, should also have a high priority.

Medium or Low: An action that could prevent a dangerous situation that has less likelihood of
occurring would be either a medium or low priority.

Not Applicable: There may be some security #DDDDFFmeasures that do not apply to your school, for example, if your school does not have outside food storage, then prevention measures related to outside food storage would not apply to your operation.

Note: Use the comment space in the checklist to make notes about factors that may affect the implementation of each security measure such as resources available/needed, length of time needed for completion, cost, or other obstacles. You can also use the comment space to note if policy for that suggestion already exists and where it can be found.

Step 3: Add security measures unique to your school.

The prevention measures suggested in the checklist are the minimum components that should be addressed in a biosecurity management plan. You may have additional security needs for your school environment. On page 32 is a blank evaluation form where you can add security measures unique to your school. Don’t forget to give your added security measures a priority rating too.

You may want to refer to other biosecurity guidelines from FSIS, FDA, and the World Health Organization for more ideas on how to strengthen the security at your school (see the Resources section beginning on page 38).

Step 4: Determine which security measures will be part of your plan.

Now that you have rated the priority for each security measure and have written thoughts about resources needed and/or possible obstacles, it will be clear what steps need to be included in your school foodservice biosecurity plan. All of the measures that are relevant to your school (high, medium, and low) should be included in your biosecurity plan.

Step 5: Assign tasks and develop a schedule of target dates for each.

Now that you have determined which security measures will be included in your plan, develop a schedule for implementing each one based on its priority rating.

You may want to divide your schedule into phases, for example phase one may be to establish emergency contacts, develop the emergency contact list, and address other communications security measures as appropriate; phase 2 may be to implement ten highpriority measures; and phase 3 may be to implement five more high priority measures and several mediumor low-priority measures.

Many of the suggestions require developing policy and procedures. Policy refers to what needs to be done and when it should be done, while procedures refer to how the requirements of the policy will be accomplished. Policy and procedures do not have to be complex — the main purpose of developing them is to think ahead. Write down what situations could happen and then write down what your response/ actions will be if that situation does happen.

Your plan development schedule should document both the responsibilities assigned to each team member and the target deadline for completing each measure. For items that require ongoing action, you may want to further break down the responsibilities and assign separate deadlines for each part; for example, one person may be assigned to write the policies, procedures, and monitoring schedule while another person may be assigned to implement the policies and procedures and to perform the scheduled checkups written by the first person.

No matter how you write your schedule/plan, make sure each team member understands what is required to complete the assigned tasks, when each task should be completed, and who will be responsible for implementing each task. Assigned to and deadline spaces are included in the checklists to assist you in developing your schedule. If a task will be divided into parts, write down who will be responsible for each part. Some tasks involve ongoing action such as monitoring. For these types of tasks, the deadline recorded will be the deadline to begin implementing that task. On page 37 is a form to help develop a monitoring schedule for tracking items that require continuous action.

Step 6: Track your progress.

As you address and implement security measures, check the implemented box.

Step 7: Maintain the school foodservice biosecurity management plan.

See Plan Maintenance for ways to help keep your plan up to date.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. (2014).
A biosecurity checklist for school foodservice programs: Developing a biosecurity management plan.
Available at

National Food Service Management Institute, 2014
The University of Mississippi