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5 things: Strict standards kept chicken off LA school menus

This and more are the things you missed for the week of April 17.

Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.

Here’s your list for the week of April 17:

1. Chicken making a comeback on LA school menus

When it comes to students’ favorite school lunch items, pizza and chicken nuggets reign supreme. But for students in Los Angeles Unified School District, chicken entrees were few and far between, and it wasn’t because students had a falling out with the protein. Instead, it was because the district couldn’t find a supplier to meet its stricter purchasing demands, according to the LA Times. In 2012, LAUSD set new supplier standards for the protein, including how the poultry was raised and how workers and the environment were treated. Talks with Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride fell apart in 2015, according to the article. But chicken is poised to make a comeback following three new vendor approvals this month, meaning students should see the return of chicken as soon as May. 

Read more: Chicken nearly disappeared from L.A. school lunches. Now, it's making a comeback


2. Self-serve kiosks replace dining services at NY university

Nine full-time and three part-time dining services workers at SUNY Orange are out of a job, replaced by self-service kiosks. The move comes as the dining program showed a deficit of more than $150,000 last year, “continuing a trend of significant operations losses that has existed for years,” according to a story in The dining program has four locations, with staff at all four being laid off. The university looked into outsourcing the operations but still found it would not make up the deficits, so contracting with a vending company was the only option. 

Read more: Self-serve kiosks to replace food staff at SUNY Orange


3. Following shooting, Oregon school says no to parents dining with kids

In response to the school shooting in San Bernardino last week, one elementary school in Oregon is telling parents they can no longer eat lunch with their children. The district said it was a matter of security and being able to keep track of everyone coming in and out of the school. A spokesperson with the district said there were just too many parents eating with their children every day, and it was becoming difficult to keep track of everyone, according to an article on The district said 10 or more parents have been visiting their children at lunchtime each day.

Read more: Parents no longer allowed to eat lunch with kids at Beaverton elementary school


4. MSU uses gallons of bad mayo to generate energy

Talk about reusing. When freezing temperatures rendered Michigan State University’s stores of mayo unusable, its dining team decided to do something good with it instead of throwing it in the trash. Some 500 2.5-gallon containers of mayo thus went into the campus’s anaerobic digester, which helps power farm areas and buildings on the south side of campus. The mayo turned out to be great fuel for the digester, which processes thousands of tons of food waste each year.

Read more: University uses 1,250 gallons of bad mayonnaise for power


5. New FSU contract means extended hours, no mandatory meal plans 

Details of the 10-year $173 million dining contract between Sodexo and Florida State University are being released. Students at open forums were given some preliminary information about the switch from Aramark to Sodexo that takes place this fall, including extending dining hall hours to meet the late-night campus lifestyle, elimination of mandatory meal plans and the implementation of technology such as mobile phone ordering and service kiosks.

Read more: Details of new Florida State dining options given at forum 


Bonus: Compass, Jose Andres announce partnership


Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected].

Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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