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Pennsylvania will provide every child enrolled in school with free breakfast this academic year, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced.

5 things: Pennsylvania and New Jersey expand school meal programs

This and a university asking professors to volunteer in short-staffed dining halls are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Pennsylvania will offer universal free school breakfast this year

Pennsylvania will provide every child enrolled in school with free breakfast this academic year, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced. The program, which will cost $21.5 million in state funds, will affect 1.7 million children in public, private, and charter schools that participate in the National Free Lunch Program. The program. which begins Oct. 1 and will last through the end of the school year, will be paid for through the state’s School Food Services General Fund appropriation, which has extra money from when the federal government provided free breakfast and lunch to all schools during the first two years of the pandemic, a program it has declined to extend.

Read more: Free breakfast returns for Pa. school students this year, Gov. Wolf announces

  1. New Jersey expands free/reduced price school meal eligibility

New Jersey will make about 26,000 more students eligible to receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch in school under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law. The law, called the Working Class Families’ Anti-Hunger Act, increases the threshold for eligibility in the state to include students from families in a slightly higher income bracket. Those from a household with an annual income of below 200% of the federal poverty level will now be eligible, as opposed to the current threshold of 185% or lower.

Read more: More N.J. students will get free school meals as Murphy signs law

  1. University asks profs to help out in short-staffed dining halls

A staffing shortage on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus led the university to make an unusual ask of its professors: Come help in our dining halls. Faculty and staff received an email asking for volunteers to clean tables, serve food and replenish buffet bars, all in an effort to keep the thousands of students who moved into dorms at the start of the school year fed. The request prompted pushback from some professors who saw the plea as a casual suggestion to work for free and offset poor administrative planning.

Read more: UW-Milwaukee dining halls can't find enough student workers. So they're asking professors and other staff to work there for free

  1. Attorney claims ruling will add transparency to GPO contracts

An attorney representing juice cup manufacturer Gregory Packaging Inc. predicted a recent $21.2 million federal court decision in Gregory’s favor will change the way manufacturers negotiate their contracts with group purchasing organizations (GPOs), though the decision is under appeal. U.S. District Court Judge Frank D. Whitney had ruled Aug. 3 that major GPO Foodbuy LLC actively concealed its billing practices, deceived manufacturers and systemically overcharged despite binding agreements by applying volume allowances even in cases where such allowances were not part of the contract.

“The court’s decision only applies to Foodbuy although it notes that Foodbuy has acted the same way against other manufacturers,” attorney Russ Ferguson told The Food Institute. “As to the industry as a whole, the case will likely change how manufacturers negotiate their contracts with all GPOs. Hopefully the decision brings more transparency to the GPO industry.”

Read more: $21M Judgment vs. Foodbuy May Improve Transparency in GPO Industry

  1. Princeton ups late meal allowance in response to rising prices

Beginning Sept. 12, late meal allowances that allow Princeton University students on unlimited meal plans to purchase food after normal dining hall hours will increase to $9 each for lunch and dinner, up from an allowance of $8 per meal. All first-years and sophomores are required to hold the unlimited meal plan that includes the late meal allowance, but prior to the allowance hike, students had expressed frustration with the increase in prices rendering some food options inaccessible.

Read more: University hikes late meal allowance to $9 for lunch and dinner amid price increases

Bonus: FM On Demand with Tara Fitzpatrick: The podcast gets pickled with Bon Appetit and fermentation at St. John’s College

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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