How much food ends up in school trash?
Interesting to read this story in the Orlando Sentinel about how changes in federal school-lunch rules mean students are not allowed to turn down healthy fruit and veggies, which means much of it can end up in the trash. That prompted Lake County school leaders to say they want staff to use surveys, or even trash cams — cameras mounted on cafeteria garbage bins — to study what's being thrown away.
Last year Lake County schools were already enforcing these rules before they were required. And they estimated that students tossed $75,000 of produce in the garbage. This year, School Board members say they want stricter trash monitoring to figure out what's working and what's not with the new federal policy.
The new rules have dramatically reshaped school lunches by placing calorie limits on meals, requiring a colorful variety of veggies. Districts that don't comply risk losing thousands of dollars a year in federal money a year.
Uneaten lunchtime food nationwide costs taxpayers about $600 million a year or more, according to a 2002 congressional report.
What do you think of this effort to get more healthy food in the school lunch. Is it wasted if it ends up in the trash?
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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