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 Nov. 12:
1. Hospital worker diagnosed with hepatitis A
A foodservice worker at the UK Chandler Hospital in Kentucky was diagnosed with hepatitis A, and the hospital is advising anyone who ate in the hospital’s Pavilion A cafeteria to get a vaccination as they may have been exposed. The employee helped prepare food for the café but not for patients. This is the second confirmed instance of a foodservice employee having hepatitis A in the past month. People can become ill from 15 to 50 days after exposure. In other news, the cafeteria at California’s Nexter is closed as it looks into a hepatitis A case of a non-foodservice employee.
Read more: Cafeteria Employee At UK Hospital Diagnosed With Hepatitis A
2. School foodservice workers accused of theft
In what seems to be a recurring theme in this column, another foodservice worker at a school has been accused of stealing. The latest incident happened at the Washington Community Schools in Indiana, where a former cafeteria worker hired by Sodexo was accused of not depositing school lunch funds in a timely manner. The cafeteria was due to receive nearly $10,000, but the worker in question only deposited about $7,000. Following an investigation and the recovery of some $1,600, the worker, who no longer is employed by the district, still owes over $2,000, most of it for a special investigation cost fine of nearly$1,800.
Read more: Former cafeteria manager accused of theft
3. District ends free lunch program
Another district has dropped the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) for its lunch program. Under CEP, all students receive free meals, regardless of their payment status. The USDA, which administers both the CEP and federal school meals programs, reimburses a district on its qualification of free, reduced and paid students. That means districts often have to cover the balance of meals that are served to students who would be classified as paid, but who no longer pay. That has led some districts to drop CEP, saying they are losing money. That’s the case with the Floyd County Board of Education in Georgia. The district will continue to offer CEP for breakfast.
Read more: Floyd BOE ends free lunches, keeps free breakfast
4. Dining hall-powered bugs powering NJ
You can definitely call this an energy alternative. “Bug farts” are saving New Jersey taxpayers nearly $2 million in energy. How it works is that bacteria are fed fatty waste collected from Rutgers dining halls, from which they give off methane as they digest it . That methane is then converted to natural gas, and, voila!—power. Last month, 215,000 gallons of grease were converted into natural gas (it’s unclear if all of the grease was provided by Rutgers).
5. No-deal Brexit could put hospital food at risk
In a bit of interesting overseas news, a no-deal Brexit could make it hard for hospitals in the UK to source food. The Department of Health and Social Care signaled the warning this week in a letter to the NHS trust. The department said hospitals would be forced to cope with potential “short supply of certain ingredients imported from the EU.”
Read more: Hospital food at risk from no-deal Brexit