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 June 27:
1. Employee charged with embezzling school lunch money
A school employee in Fairfax County schools in Virginia has been charged with “embezzling a large sum of money intended for student lunches at an elementary school,” according to the Washington Post. The amount of money has not been disclosed. The alleged embezzlement occurred over a three-year period and was discovered when a foodservice manager noticed discrepancies in records.
2. Few students actually use nutrition labels in dining halls
Only 45 percent of students at the University of Illinois noticed nutrition labels in the dining halls, and even fewer—20 percent—said they used those labels to help make dining decisions. That’s what researchers found when they surveyed nearly 3,000 students this year. Students who already exhibit healthier behaviors (i.e., they track their dietary intake or excising) were more likely to use nutrition information provided on labels. For those who don’t use the labels, the No. 1 reason for not doing so was they say they don’t care about the information.
Read more: Nutrition labels on dining hall food: Are they being used? By who?
3. Senate bill would require GMO labeling
The Senate last week agreed on a bill that would require GMOs to be labeled in packaged goods. The bill would be less stringent that Vermont’s, which goes into effect July 1. The Senate bill would require GMOs to be labeled but would allow companies to use a text label, a symbol or electronic label accessible by smartphones. Vermont’s law, by comparison, requires items to be labeled with “produced with genetic engineering.” The Senate bill would give the USDA two years to write the rules, which would pre-empt the Vermont and other state GMO labeling laws.
Read more: Senators reach deal on GMO labeling
4. District seeing financial success since dropping NSLP
Since removing itself last year from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) due to regs put forth by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, Bozeman High School is seeing its financial situation improve. The district is still serving healthy meals, it says, but is “on the fringes” of rules regarding calories, sodium and sugar. While there have been more students participating in the school meal program since dropping the NSLP, the majority of those students are purchasing from the a la carte line and not reimbursable meals.
5. San Fran schools might return to scratch cooking
After seeing a 16 percent reduction in participation following a radical school redesign, San Francisco schools might return to scratch cooking. As part of the redesign, the district has been purchasing meals from vendor Revolution Foods. However, the district might return to self-op status and start cooking its own meals, if a bond issue is passed this November that would provide $20 million for nutrition services to renovate kitchens and return to scratch cooking.
Read more: Will SFUSD Scratch Cook School Lunch?