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5 things: Pasco County Schools looking into possible school meal fraud

This and schools wasting tons of food are the things you missed for the week of December 9 in onsite foodservice.

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 December 9:

1. Schools waste tons of food

A new report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that school meal programs waste tons of food—530,000 tons of food each year. The researchers found that that food waste cost $1.7 billion each school year. Food waste has always been an issue in any foodservice setting, but many child nutrition directors have noticed an increase in students throwing away food following the new, stricter guidelines in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The WWF found that when students were educated on food waste, they reduced their waste by 3%, with elementary schools seeing a 15% reduction. The report was conducted in 46 schools in nine cities in eight states.

Read more: School cafeterias waste 530K tons of food per year

2. Law requires plant-based meals in New York hospitals

A new bill was signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that requires hospitals to make plant-based meals and snacks that contain no animal products or by-products available upon request. The bill also says that the plant-based meals, which must be nutritionally equivalent to other menu items, be listed on written materials and menus. The bill is similar to one passed in California last year.  

Read more: New York Makes Plant-Based Hospital Meals the Law

3. Pasco County looking into possible school lunch fraud

Pasco County Schools is looking into issues with district employees receiving free or reduced lunches for their children when they should not have. The issue, which impacts hundreds of employees, is due to people putting in incorrect information for the national free meals program, the district says. The district said the issue was found during a mandatory annual audit, when 200 employees were found to have discrepancies between their salaries and what they put on the applications as their salaries. Those salaries are used to help determine whether a child is eligible for a free or reduced-priced meal. The district said the discrepancies came from employees using net instead of gross numbers or used a salary before a raise. The district says it looks like most look like “honest mistakes,” though one foodservice employee who managed the eligibility program resigned when asked about the discrepancy on her application.

Read more: Pasco County Schools looking into potential school lunch fraud find 'honest mistakes'

4. Square won’t have employee café in new restaurant

Late last year the San Francisco city council wanted to ban employee cafeterias at new technology corporate offices. The idea behind the proposed bill was to encourage employees to be a larger part of the San Fran community and to give business to local restaurants. The bill was not passed, but Square seems to be implementing certain elements. The payment processing company will not include an employee café in its new office, saying it wants the 300 workers there to go to local restaurants instead. 

Read more: Square Cuts Cafeteria and Pushes Oakland Employees to Eat at Restaurants

5. School lunch employee convicted of misappropriating funds

A former cafeteria manager for the Oneida Special School District in Tennessee has been convicted of misappropriating nearly $50,000 from the district’s cafeteria account. The employee, Verna Rose Wright, was the school nutrition supervisor.

Read more: Former cafeteria manager convicted

Bonus: 20 big culinary trends for food service in 2020

Contact Becky at becky.schilling@informa.com and follow her on social @bschilling_FM.
 

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