Each Friday Food Management compiles a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the onsite foodservice news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of November 11:
1. Aramark agrees to settle bonus non-payment suits
Aramark has reached in principle an agreement to settle claims in two lawsuits pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania brought by a group of managers and former managers alleging that the company failed to pay bonuses owed to them and other current and former Aramark managers. In the agreement, Aramark agrees to pay $21 million (inclusive of all plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, expenses and settlement costs) into a settlement fund in return for dismissal of the lawsuits and a release of all claims. The agreement was reached in voluntary mediation and has yet to be approved by the court. In a statement, Aramark said, “We believe it is in the best interest of our employees and the Company to put this matter behind us.”
Read more: Aramark Statement Regarding Settlement Agreement
- PB&J is the ticket for UAA parking scofflaws
The University of Alaska's Anchorage campus has an annual tradition that serves a unique role in combating student hunger. Once a year, anyone with unpaid parking fines will be able to cut down, or even cover, the cost of their tickets by donating peanut butter and jelly, which then goes to the university's emergency food cache that provides food to students who face hunger on a regular basis. The drive typically runs for two weeks. This year, through a partnership with the on-campus dining facilities, week two will focus on collecting canned soup for the emergency cache program.
Read more: This week only: UAA Parking Services will take PB&J as payment for citations
- Farmers push for whole milk in schools
A growing number of America's dairy farmers are pushing to allow whole milk back in public schools. An online petition asking President Donald Trump, Congress and other federal institutions to let students have the 3.5% milk had garnered more than 11,500 signatures as of Nov. 10, according to this article. Whole and 2% milk were banned from school lunchrooms participating in the federal National School Lunch Program by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2012 in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommended that children should drink only 1% or fat-free milk. Current law stipulates that whole milk only can return to schools if the dietary guidelines are changed. The next edition is due in 2020.
Since the ban went into effect in 2012, the volume of milk students consume at school has dropped some 11%, according to the National Milk Producers Federation, reflective of overall national trends that have seen milk sales drop by $1.1 billion between 2017 and 2018, according to Dairy Farmers of America.
Read more: Farmers to Congress: Allow schools to serve whole milk
- Dean Foods files for bankruptcy
Speaking of the troubles of the dairy industry, the country’s largest dairy concern, Dean Foods, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The Dallas-based milk processor said that it plans to use the Chapter 11 proceedings to keep running the business, and address debt and unfunded debt obligations as it seeks to sell the company. Dean Foods has secured commitments for $850 million in debtor-in-possession financing, a type of funding for companies in financial distress.
Dean Foods also said it is engaged in “advanced discussions” with the Dairy Farmers of America about selling “substantially” all of its assets. Even if both parties agree to the sale, the transaction would be subject to receiving higher or better offers while the company is in bankruptcy.
Read more: Dean Foods, America’s biggest milk producer, files for bankruptcy
- “Secret” athletic dining facility draws criticism
Dining venues designed to serve student athletes are not unusual. Some admit regular students, while others are more exclusive. At the University of Cincinnati (UC), controversy has arisen regarding preferential treatment of student athletes after the opening last fall of The Varsity Club as a space where teams can dine together while getting nutritious meals. While the facility technically is open to the entire student body, the fact that it has not been publicized—UC Food Services has yet to list any information about it on its website—has irked some students. “It’s technically a dining hall open to anyone, but only student athletes are told about it, and I find that to be incredibly dishonest,” said one quoted in this article.
Read more: Dining hall marketed exclusively to athletes stirs up controversy on campus
Bonus: Who’s serving the best K-12 school meals in America?
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]