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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas gets high marks for school lunches



The Pinellas County School District received a perfect score for the quality of its school lunches from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. For its 2012 School Lunch Report Card, the committee studied elementary lunches at 20 school districts in the country, including four in Florida.

Pinellas County Schools was the only district in the group to earn a perfect score. Broward, Miami-Dade and Seminole counties, which were included in the report, all scored lower. Broward and Miami-Dade both earned As, while Seminole received a B-.

Earlier this month, my colleague, Jeffrey S. Solochek, had a story about some students' reactions to new federal lunch guidelines. The lunches are healthier now, but students complained that the portions were too small.

Catherine Gerard, a food and nutrition supervisor in Pinellas County, said there wasn't much of a backlash in the county's schools because the district started phasing in the new requirements last year. The school district also has experimented with fruit smoothies in the middle schools and frozen yogurt in the high schools. Some items haven't gone over as well, including whole grain biscuits and whole wheat mac and cheese, she said. Those items are being reworked.

The 2012 School Lunch Report Card gave low marks to some schools districts, including Houston and Milwaukee for still giving students high-cholesterol items, such as breaded catfish and pork nuggets.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a non-profit organization that promotes healthy choices.

[Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 12:57pm]


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