US Agriculture Department announced that one in ten schools didn't get inspected last year although the Congress requires having two inspections yearly.

Translated, it means that millions of children ate in school cafeterias that have not been expected.
Inspections are needed to make sure that cafeteria workers washed their hands properly and that they kept lunchtime staples like pizza hot or milk cold to prevent germs from growing.

Failing to obey these rules could lead to children falling ill or even food poisoning. The most common violations in cafeterias included wrong temperatures, failing to keep hot food hot enough or cold food cold enough or having an open dumpster outside the cafeteria.

These are the statistics from investigated schools: “Rhode Island schools were commonly cited for cross-contamination of utensils, improper holding temperatures and the presence of vermin; Washington, D.C. schools had hot and cold holding equipment that needed repair; and Schools in Hartford, Conn., have been cited for having dirty floors that needed repair and inadequate handwashing stations and sanitation.”

According to the Agriculture Department, out of 94,132 schools in the 2005-2006 school year 10% or 9,498 schools, were not inspected at all, 29% or 27,184 schools were inspected only once and 61% or 57,450 schools, were inspected at least twice.

It is not up to schools to inspect their cafeterias but up to state and local health authorities. The problem is that there is a lack of staff and money to support two inspections a year. When Congress doubled the inspection requirement, lawmakers didn't provide any money for more inspections.
Health departments also have higher priorities than schools as more outbreaks occur for example in restaurants. School cafeterias were the source of only about 3 % of the 7,390 food poisoning outbreaks between 1990 and 1999.

It is also said cafeteria workers are generally better trained than restaurant workers.

However, this should not be used as an excuse. Outbreaks in schools may be rare but children are at greater risk for complications from E. coli, salmonella and other foodborne germs and this is why regular inspections are needed.