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:
- School FSD charged with $1.5 million embezzlement scheme
Cook County prosecutors have charged Vera Liddell, who worked as the director of food services at Harvey School District 152 in suburban Chicago, of engaging in a massive embezzlement scheme in which she allegedly stole more than 11,000 cases of chicken wings and $1.5 million in taxpayer funds over a 19-month period, court documents revealed. Prosecutors allege Liddell placed hundreds of unauthorized orders for food items, particularly chicken wings, with the district's main supplier, Gordon Food Services, from July 2020 to February 2022.
- Brown enhances kosher, halal and allergen-free offerings
Brown University Dining Services has begun construction on new kosher and allergy-friendly kitchens, as well as an enhanced halal station. The new kosher kitchen will include two separate kitchens for meat and dairy preparation and will be staffed by a full-time Mashgiach to ensure it maintains kosher standards and chefs who “are trained in kosher menu concepts,” while the halal station will serve as a “dedicated space for all students looking to access food prepared in accordance with Islamic law” and will feature “halal recipes and menu concepts, with all meat purchased and served through the week certified as halal.” The new allergy-friendly kitchen will be free of the nine most common food allergens—peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, fish, shellfish, soy, sesame and gluten—and will also use equipment and cookware that is separate from the main kitchen.
- Vermont Medical Center foodservice workers join health professionals union
Support and technical staff employed by the University of Vermont Medical Center have voted overwhelmingly to unionize, joining the hospital’s nurses and other technicians as part of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (VFNHP). As a result of both votes, VFNHP, already the state’s largest affiliation representing some 2,500 health care workers, will roughly double in size by bringing 2,200 more support staff—including foodservice as well as licensed nursing assistants, lab and office assistants, phlebotomists, custodial workers, schedulers and parking attendants—under representation. It will encompass workers from both the hospital and more than a dozen outpatient offices, including family medicine, dental, ophthalmology and orthopedic care, among others.
- Coffee chain operates high school outlets where teens get job experience
PJ’s Coffee has more than 150 locations, primarily in the Southern U.S., and while almost all of them are conventional fast-food-style operations, there are also about half a dozen other locations on public and private high school campuses where teenagers can get their first work experience at a chain restaurant, dipping their toes in the real world of jobs and employment that awaits them once their schooling is finished. At the PJ's outlet in Walker High School in Louisiana, for example, the students work as part of their formal education and the operation of the store, from filling coffee cups to sweeping floors to filing taxes, is all handled by student workers.
- Medical center partners with food bank to help food-insecure patients
The Missouri Delta Medical Center is partnering with Southeast Missouri Food Bank to offer an on-site food pantry for patients. Under the program, patients will be screened to determine food insecurity issues, and those who need it will receive a box of healthy foods, including items like canned vegetables and peanut butter, to take home with them when they’re discharged. They will also be put in touch with other food assistance services, such as access to food pantries, enrollment for a monthly senior food box or help applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]