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 Sept. 28:
1. Study: School meals expose kids to BPA
Children who eat school meals are exposed to unsafe levels of BPA, according to a new study by the Stanford Prevention Research Center. BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical often found in canned and plastic packaging. Ingesting BPA has been linked to health issues ranging from cancer to reproductive issues. The study found that because many foodservice operations rely on canned and prepackaged food items, students are ingesting unsafe levels of BPA.
2. Dirty mixer cause of salmonella outbreak in Australian hospital
Sixteen people have been stricken with gastroenteritis linked to a dirty stab mixer used to blend and puree food, according to an article on abc.net. The mixer had not been properly cleaned, something the hospital’s food safety and nutrition director said was impossible due to the construction of the appliance, which couldn’t be dismantled. As a result, the hospital is now using only mixers that can be dismantled.
Read more: Dirty food mixer responsible for salmonella outbreak at Burnside Hospital, SA Health issues warning
3. Chain changes hospital menu to be healthier
Chain restaurants in hospitals have been feeling the heat lately, with many questioning their inclusion in an environment where healing and well-being is being practiced and promoted. In New York City, the Healthy Hospital Food Initiative calls for better-for-you food options. To meet these voluntary guidelines, the Au Bon Pain in the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx is changing its menu. The chain will also change its menu at the three other NYC hospital locations it operates.
4. Students start own dining option on campus
College dining services departments have always faced outside competition from local restaurants. But one college, Temple University in Philadelphia, is facing competition from the students themselves. A student-run cooperative is serving locally sourced fare that has been produced by students for students. The operation, the Rad Dish Café, is located in an academic building on campus. The co-op was born from a student project that developed an idea for a sustainable café. The Rad Dish Café is open to students and public. It brings in about $450 a day in sales.
5. Homeless gain work experience in Miami garden and restaurant
In a truly feel-good story, there’s a farm and restaurant in Miami that employs the homeless. After Hurricane Andrew tore through the city, the Miami Chamber of Commerce used a storm-decimated space to create a 22-acre certified organic farm, year-round farmers market and townhouses. The Verde Gardens community helps transition homeless from the streets by providing them with social services, homes and jobs—in the form of working the garden and the new restaurant, where the farm’s bounty is used to create meals. Perhaps this story can provide some inspiration for noncommercial operators who have onsite farms to reach out into their communities to help the less fortunate with real-life job experience.
Read more: Homeless Find New Life Working at 22-Acre Organic Farm and Restaurant
Bonus: Recipe: Summer-to-Fall Herb-Crusted Black Cod, with Vegetable Antipasto, Bell Pepper Béchamel Sauce and Tomato Ragout