School Lunches Take a Beating in New York Times / Investigative Fund Study
Jeff Gangemi Dec 19, 2011 News 0 comments
A disturbing recent study found that schools are diverting $1 billion of USDA-donated produce and meat and shipping it to food processing operations, who turn it into – well, the school lunches you probably remember – chicken nuggets, French fries, flavored milk and the like.
The sad part? Many school cafeterias no longer actually cook food, but rather reheat the processed creations they’ve outsourced.
The outrageous part? Schools are often spending more to process their food (to the tune of up to three times the cost) than it would cost to cook real food. All told, these schools are essentially spending the same amount of money to remove the nutrients from their food.
The article goes on to argue that this system is robbing our communities at every turn – of jobs, of local economic activity and vitality, and of the best opportunity we have to help our kids grow up healthy.
“I want to draw attention to an eye-opening investigative report on school lunch that has gotten a bit lost in the holiday shuffle. In a collaboration between The New York Times and the Investigative Fund, reporter Lucy Komisar delved into the billion-dollar business of the national school lunch program and found some unsettling news.
Komisar looked at two less-examined aspects of the school lunch program. The first is the practice of taking up to $1 billion of "surplus" fruits, vegetables, and meats that the USDA supplies to the program and, rather than cooking them into healthy meals, turning them into high-fat processed foods. The second is the surprisingly inefficient economics of outsourcing cafeteria services to private companies like Sodexo or Aramark.”