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Report Finds Critical Health Violations At Some NYC Public Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Gone are the greasy pizzas and salt-soaked fries.

Now, New York City public school cafeterias serve more fruits and veggies.

But a new report found they're served from kitchens populated by mice, rats, roaches and flies.

"City health inspectors discovered an average of two violations per school cafeteria visit," read the report, conducted by students at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. "While some schools had no violations, as Health Department officials pointed out, other racked up more, driving up the average."

The report found nearly half of the 1,400 schools had at least one critical health violation.

"There's different levels and kinds of violations," said Mallory Moench, one of the authors of the report. "But critical ones are ones that can be serious concerns. Some examples would be if you have pests or animals or insects in the kitchen or cafeteria area, or if you're keeping the food either too hot or too cold. These kinds of things could lead to food-borne illnesses or cause health concerns."

Moench told 1010 WINS the schools with the most violations were largely serving the city's poorest students.

"And a lot of these are kids from minority groups as well," Moench said.

According to the report, about 1,500 flies were found by health inspectors at M.S. 137 in Ozone Park, Queens. At P.S. 398 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, health inspectors found roaches and about 600 fresh mice droppings in the cafeteria and kitchen, the report stated.

The Department of Education issued a statement saying, "All schools must provide students with safe, clean cafeterias and we ensure that they meet all federal and state requirements. Nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of students and staff, and we work closely with the Department of Health to immediately investigate and address any violation. In 2017, approximately 98 percent of schools passed their inspections."

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