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Florida school meal programs taking large financial hit plus four other things you may have missed this week.

5 coronavirus things: Florida school districts see $370 million fiscal hole in meal programs

This and a study showing shifting consumer preferences toward immunity-boosting foods are some of the stories you may have missed recently regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Florida school meal programs taking large financial hit

COVID-driven budget shortfalls due to fewer students participating are threatening school meals programs in Florida, with districts collectively seeing a financial hole as deep as $370 million, according to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Palm Beach County, one of the largest school districts in the country, reported meal program losses of around $6 million as it serves about 103,000 students now as opposed to 170,000 last year. Citrus County is reporting serving 104,000 fewer lunches compared to this time last year, along with 45,000 fewer breakfasts.

Read more: 'Something we’ve never done’: Florida schools drain reserves to feed kids at home

  1. RDN survey indicates consumer shift to more immunity-boosting foods

The 2021 Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian "What's Trending in Nutrition" survey of 1,165 registered dietitian nutritionists shows that consumers are focusing on foods that support immunity and provide comfort in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Also, 78% of RDNs say that consumer eating habits are shifting away from the traditional three meals a day to more frequent snacking.

Read more: Pandemic Plates: Nutrition Experts Reveal Top Consumer Diet Changes Due to COVID-19

  1. Contaminated chocolate milk consumed by 50 child patients at hospital

Fifty children on three patient units at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City are reported to have consumed contaminated chocolate milk, with 28 subsequently transferred to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to be evaluated and monitored by a pediatric gastroenterology specialist. Hospital authorities said they removed all milk throughout the facility and notified the vendor, Hiland Dairy, which issued a product recall of the one-half pint 1% low-fat chocolate milk that was produced at its facility in Norman and which may contain food-grade sanitizers that could cause illnesses if consumed.

Read more: 50 children at St. Anthony Hospital consumed contaminated milk, leading to Hiland Dairy recall

  1. Sodexo at UT-Tyler to launch farmers’ market program on campus

Sodexo Dining Services at The University of Texas at Tyler is launching a new Farmer’s Market initiative in Spring 2021. The program, a partnership with fresh produce supplier Fresh Point, will bring bulk produce to campus that students can buy with their meal plan’s Dining Dollars.

Read more: Sodexo UT Tyler takes a fresh look at produce

  1. R.I.P.: Sugar Foods CEO Don Tober

Donald Tober, a major figure in the foodservice supplier community for decades as co-owner/CEO of artificial sweetener vendor Sugar Foods, has committed suicide by jumping from his Park Avenue apartment building. The 89-year-old Tober, who was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, was instrumental in making sugar substitutes like his company’s Sweet ‘n Low into a mainstay of foodservice establishments across the industry.

Read more: Wealthy Sweet’N Low magnate Donald Tober leaps to his death from NYC apartment

Bonus: 9 fun new K-12 school lunch menu items kids will devour

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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