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5 things: Will the Trump administration dismantle the school meals program?

This and more are the things you missed for the week of Nov. 14.

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 Nov. 14: 

1. Will the Trump administration dismantle the school meals program?

That’s one of the biggest questions child nutrition professionals are asking right now, and if there just might be some changes coming to child nutrition reauthorization. While Trump hasn’t weighed in on the school lunch issue, those who will have a hand in crafting new legislation told the AP this: “I would be very surprised if we don’t see some major changes on the school lunch program.” That came from Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees Agriculture Department spending. Aderholt also told the AP that the Obama administration was “activist driven” and that people who voted for Trump were looking for common sense approaches. With any administration change also comes the potential for a new Agriculture secretary. One of the names being floated is Sid Miller, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, who is best known for repealing a ban on fryers and soda machines in schools. While many child nutrition professionals are looking for changes to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, I highly doubt they will welcome a return of fryers to their cafeterias. 

Read more: Fast-food fan Trump could remake healthy school lunches

2. Ex-school meals manager accused of stealing food

A former nutrition services manager at a small district in Athens, Ga., has been accused of stealing food from the program. The employee quit after she was confronted about the district having higher than normal food expenses and her suspicious behavior recorded by the school’s security system (the employee was allegedly removing food from the cafeteria into her car).

Read more: Ex-nutrition manager at Athens school accused of food theft

3. Meal plans don’t charge for stolen food

In other theft news: Hofstra’s dining services has clarified that it doesn’t include a surcharge for food stolen from the dining halls into the price of its meal plans. This comes after rumors that students there had a $30 charge added to their meal plans. Director of Budget and Campus Dining Michael D. Ogazon told the Hofstra Chronicle that while there is theft on campus, “It isn’t a big problem. It’s not like it’s hundreds of dollars.” Ogazon also told the paper that dining service doesn’t account for stolen food because tracking those occurrences is too unpredictable and the lost product doesn’t greatly influence sales. I certainly hope that’s the case at Hofstra, and I’d congratulate them if student theft in dining halls isn’t affecting their sales. I’ve seen other universities struggle with this (I saw one student fill up an entire gallon-size bag with cereal from a self-service station. That was just one case at one dining hall. I’d image if you multiplied that, it would cause some financial headaches.)  

Read more: Stolen food not insured by meal plans

4. Dining services pulls apple juice after student finds elevated arsenic level 

Bon Appetit at MIT has pulled apple juice at one dining hall and had the juice machines recalibrated at others after a student found that the juice had elevated levels of arsenic. The student conducted the test as part of a class project. To be fair, the student only conducted one test, but Bon Appetit took a proactive approach and pulled the juice from the dining hall in which the elevated test was found. The juice was replaced with farm-fresh apple cider. Additional testing will be conducted and Bon Appetit is working with its vendors to determine if the supply does contain elevated arsenic levels. 

Read more: Student finds potentially elevated levels of arsenic in dining hall apple juice

5. Study: Kids who drink whole milk are leaner

Kids who drink whole milk are leaner and have higher vitamin D levels than those who consume low-fat or skim milk, a new study found. The study looked at 2,700 kids aged 1 to 6 and found that whole-milk drinking children had a lower body mass index by nearly one unit. 

Read more: Kids who drink whole milk are leaner, researchers say 

Bonus: Parents help staff charter school after foodservice provider backs out

Contact Becky Schilling at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @bschilling_FM

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