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Two Harrisburg elementary schools receive health code violations

HARRISBURG, P.a. -- The Harrisburg City School District is responding to recent health code violations at two of their elementary schools, Melrose and Ben Franklin. There has also been some negative social media posts regarding the schools' food.

School officials said they don't know which school some of the photos have been circulating are from, but they are working on addressing all of the issues listed in the report.

The health officer, Nelva Wright,  made it very clear the inspections are just snapshots in time. She also said a lot of this stuff is easily fixed with training and better practices.

Wright does inspections twice a year at all of the schools. So the inspections at Melrose and Ben Franklin Elementary were part of that routine. This year there were some changes, and initially she had received info that some things weren’t running as smoothly as they should be.

"Now generally there are small things at any given time that are minor situations," Wright said. "This particular time I visited a couple of schools and found some things that were out of compliance that were more than the norm, if you will.”

Melrose Elementary was found to be out of compliance overall.

"The situation at Melrose was that because of the amount of food that was being delivered to the school. It was causing a backlog if you will. Initially when I walked in, there were boxes that were on the floor that were being delivered, there were lots of things in the office that were being used for storage, it was just a lack of space," Wright said.

The issues at Ben Franklin were more easily correctable on site, which is why they were in compliance.

"For example, they had food on the shelf that didn’t have a date, some canned goods and things like that that might have been left over from another company, there was a person that was working that didn’t have a hair net on," Wright said.

The statement FOX 43 got from the school food service provider said, “no product quality or preparation issues were found on any campus."

"I would just say to refer to the actual reports that being placed - every inspection has a report that’s put on eatsafepa.com. In that report I document my findings. So the findings are very clear in the report. That’s all I can speak to is what I saw and what’s in the report," Wright said.

"We're not perfect," Beth King, the food service supervisor at the school, said. "We're human beings. we're going to have some challenges and some hurdles that we have had to overcome for sure. But we're committed to correcting them as quickly as possible."

Either way, Wright said nothing that she found was so bad that the schools needed to stop serving food. But some neighbors aren't feeling reassured.

"I’m surprised. I really am because Melrose used to be a very good school to send your kids to," Joy Frederico, a neighbor, said. "It was one of the best. And for them to just not be in compliance, and people are sending their children down there, and they’re eating, what, this raunchy food? I can’t even imagine. I can’t even imagine what the parents are going to do."

Both schools have until the end of this week to take care of the more immediate things that need to be fixed, and to come up with a long term plan of sustainability. After that the health office will continue to monitor the school as time goes on.