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 March 14:
1. Review found DC Schools don’t have adequate kitchen equipment
The fallout from two settlements following former DC Schools foodservice director Jeffrey Mills’ lawsuit is taking another turn. The district is doing a comprehensive review to determine if it can operate its own foodservice department in house. Part of that review was getting an audit of the current kitchen equipment. The result wasn’t pretty: The auditor found that no such inventory existed and that pieces of equipment hadn’t been operational in more than a year.
The Office of the Inspector General is also conducting a separate review to evaluate the quality of the program in the 2014-2015 school year and to determine if foodservice contractors complied with laws, regulation and procedures, something Mills’ whistleblower lawsuit claimed hadn’t happened.
2 Advocacy group erects billboard calling out school meals
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is planning to erect two billboards along highways in Carson City, Nev., warning parents about the healthfulness of school meals. In question is the serving of hot dogs, which PCRM is calling out as a “cancer-causing food” that doesn’t belong in schools. The committee is using a recent World Health Organization release stating processed meats—including hot dogs—are “carcinogenic to humans.” In addition to the billboards, the group has asked both the mayor and nutrition services coordinator to remove processed foods.
3. 50 best college dining experiences
College Rank, a website developed to help potential and current students learn about college choices in the US, has released its ranking of the best college dining experiences. The website looked at four factors to determine its rankings: versatility (a wide range of dining options and themed events), nutrition and wellness, sustainability and accessibility (accommodating special dietary needs). The top five on the list are (from one to five): Kent State University, Bowdoin College, Cornell University, Georgetown University and Emory University. I’m not sure how College Rank performed its research, but I’m guessing it was by what was available through the dining services website. Perennial college dining list favorite UMass didn’t even crack the list.
Read more: The 50 Best College Dining Experiences
4. Students describe struggles of eating gluten-free on campus
As more students come to college campuses with food allergies or gluten intolerances, many are using dining services’ ability to meet those needs as a factor in determining which college to attend. This article describes one student’s struggles to have gluten-free dining experiences at the University of Delaware. The student describes working one-on-one with a dietitian, who helped plan her first couple of meals and sent a daily email with gluten-free options being served that day. The student could even preorder meals and have them ready for her pickup. The student, however, found the process to inconvenient, stopped preordering gluten-free meals and instead ate from the deli or salad bar. She said dining services employees often didn’t know which items were gluten-free. Even with personal attention and service, this student felt the gluten-free dining program wasn’t a good fit for her. Say what you will about millennials and entitlement, this could be how your students feel about creating a safe dining experience at your college campus. How are you dealing with it?
5. Climate change could kill 500,000
We all know poor nutrition is a major medical concern. But here’s a scary prediction: The effects on the global food supply of climate change could lead to 500,000 deaths by 2050. That’s because people would lose access to nutritious food as floods, droughts and other weather events limit crop yields across the world. And in a first-of-its-kind study, “people will be twice as likely to die from issues linked to climate-related poor diet than from undernutrition,” according to an article in Time. The researchers found, for example, that consumption of fruits and vegetables will decline by 4 percent by 2050 due to the change in crop yield due to global warming. These deaths by undernutrition are most likely to occur in Southeast Asia and Africa, as effects of climate change on crops are already evident.
Read more: How Climate Change May Affect Your Diet