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NYC Council hears statements from students about rough meals

New York schoolchildren testified before the city council on Wednesday about unpopular dining options, with some students throwing their lunches in the trash.

The council raised concerns about the meals being served to students after images of less than appetizing dishes circulated on social media.

“I was served stale waffles and undercooked chicken nuggets and fries for breakfast,” one student testified.

“During the pandemic, students have been served ham and cheese sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches who, as a student who has eaten them before, know they can’t keep me energized throughout the school day.”

Other students testified that some meal choices did not meet their religious or dietary restrictions — and those are just the meals the kids actually put down.

“The bottom line is that we want all of our children to have access to fresh, nutritious, healthy food that is also appealing and tastes good, so they actually eat it and don’t throw it in the trash,” said Rita Joseph, Chair of the Board of Education.

Cafeteria staffing levels are recovering to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, DOE officials said.

One student recalled being served
Students have noticed that the quality of food served in city schools has declined since the COVID pandemic.
NYC Council
Another student testified that he ate
Some students have also complained that the food does not meet their religious or dietary restrictions.
NYC Council
Rita Joseph, Chair of the Board of Education, was alarmed at how many students were throwing away stale food.
Rita Joseph, Chair of the Board of Education, stressed that students should be served nutritious food that also tastes good.
NYC Council

Christopher Tricarico, senior executive director at the Office of Food and Nutrition Services, said there is room for improvement.

“My team, the department needs to do a little better job on the menu next September and you’ll see that it’s clearly stated on the menu so there’s no confusion about the options,” he said.

A council member asked Tricarico what officials could do to ensure the children actually eat what they are served. Tricario suggested that the directors could try turning off the food themselves.

New York City Council Member Rita Joseph, Chair of the Board of Education, heard statements from students about the quality of school meals.
Joseph conducts the meeting while the students share their testimonies from another location.
NYC Council
Rita Joseph, a member of the city council, heard testimonies from several students that they were served a disgusting school lunch.
Joseph overheard statements from several students about being served a disgusting school lunch.
NYC Council
A typical lunch served at Brooklyn's PS 257 includes green beans, rigatoni, applesauce, and milk.
A typical lunch served at Brooklyn’s PS 257 includes green beans, rigatoni, applesauce, and milk.
Chad Rachman

“As the principal, I would go into the dining room and eat with my students,” he said. “I think if we start to get more into that and we bring the school administration, parents and students together and have the same conversation, we increase participation across the board.”

The hearing followed images and reports of menu options, including the Instagram account of an anonymous student focused on food at a Queens school.

The @bsgelunch account documented the food being served at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, with a recent post showing “mushy” chicken tenders and a weak portion of fries.

The Department of Education has claimed chicken pea wraps are available on Fridays.
The Department of Education has confirmed packets of chickpeas are available on Fridays.
New York Schools
Mediterranean chickpea vegetarian lunch option for New York public school students. The NYC DOE annou
The DOE claims that vegan lunch options are available to students.
New York Schools
Vegetarian lunch option with Mediterranean chickpeas for New York public school students.
Joseph required that the students be served “fresh, nutritious, wholesome food.”
New York Schools

“School lunch sucked this year and I can only dream next year will be better,” the post reads. “DOE, if you’re reading this, please bring back garlic bread.”

https://nypost.com/2022/06/15/nyc-council-hears-students-testimony-over-gross-meals/ NYC Council hears statements from students about rough meals

JACLYN DIAZ

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