BURLEY, Idaho – Burley High School has seen a 25 percent decrease in participation since changes to the National School Lunch Program went into effect.
Those students now “bring sack lunches, dash off campus for fast food or skip the meal altogether,” according to the Times-News.
“It was not edible. It was a greasy little hot pocket,” parent Steve Wells says. “When we were little, everything at school was homemade.”
The school lunch “doesn’t taste as good,” student Ana Inzunza tells the paper. “It’s missing flavor and tastes plain.”
“There are a lot of challenges,” Cassia County schools food service director, Angela Rodriquez, says of the new rules championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
“The students have noticed there is not as much flavor in the food.”
Meanwhile, students in Austintown, Ohio aren’t faring much better.
“Kids can’t take two ketchup packets [for burgers] because that would set them over on calories” for that condiment, Natalie Winkle, district food-service secretary and assistant tells The Vindicator.
The district’s food service director says costs are up and revenues are down.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana parent Janina Martinez is concerned, too.
“And as the years progressed, I seemed to be sending lunch more often for both Daniela and Alex,” Martinez says, according to 225BatonRouge.com.
“One time she came home and told me about the chicken jiggling like Jell-O.”
The news site continues:
It was eye-opening for Martinez, but she says she really started to wonder about the food when Alex came home and exclaimed, “Mommy, they managed to mess up the pizza. The pizza!” …
To meet the new mandates, the school district removed hot dogs, chili and macaroni and cheese from its menu, opting for more beans and burritos. It also changed its buns from white to whole wheat.
“The National School Lunch Program has enjoyed years of steady growth, but what we’re now seeing is a lot of waste, mostly with fruits and vegetables,” School Nutrition Association spokeswoman Diane Pratt-Heavner tells the news site.
Many students are finding the food inedible.
“The chicken, sandwiches and burgers and even the pizza crust” didn’t taste right, Huntington County, Indiana student Matthew Karst tells the Journal-Gazette.
“For example, they had biscuits and gravy for lunch. I look at the biscuits, and it’s a whole grain. I took one bite of the chicken patty and it was so disgusting, I couldn’t finish it.”
Candice Hagar, director of nutrition services at Fort Wayne Community Schools, tells the paper she’s seen more waste this year because her schools are serving more things that kids don’t want to eat.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Hagar says. “I do need those reimbursements from the federal government in order to feed my children.”
At Matanzas High School, in Florida’s Flagler County district, the News-Journal reports the students can, “Forget mystery meat. Students are discovering mystery vegetables in their lunch line now, and they can’t check out without loading up on them because of increasingly strict federal rules that tell cafeteria workers what they must serve — and what’s forbidden.”
“I think it all goes in the garbage,” a 17-year-old student tells the paper.
Contradicting the rhetoric of proponents claiming lunches are now less processed, the paper reports:
The school still sells sandwiches and wraps, but they’re pre-made for the students, which allows cafeteria workers to ensure that every meal meets federal requirements.
Student Lindsey Ryan summed up the point of all of this: “Forcing us to put broccoli on our plate is not going to make us eat it.”
Or, to put it another way:
Another Obama lunch. I Fart more than this!! pic.twitter.com/eMxva2rwcA
— Johne Riley (@JohneRiley) September 30, 2014