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School meals in New York outraged parents: food with mold and questionable cereals


Alina Prikhodko

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Creamy blue cheese, a side dish that looks like a gray “mushy spread,” a bowl of rice, beans, and nothing else. According to NBC New York, New York students and their parents are outraged by the quality of food in school cafeterias.

State Sen. Even Chu says she is inundated with complaints from parents and students about the food served in New York City school cafeterias. She said students have recently noticed a sharp decline in the quality of food and are complaining about dishes and products that are, at best, alarming. Since the beginning of February, images of food showing mold have started to arrive in her inbox.

“We need to provide quality food, fresh lunch, not oranges and blue cheese,” said Chu, who represents Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights in the state Senate.

Students from various high schools, including Brooklyn Tech, Edward R. Murrow, Midwood and Staten Island Tech, sent her photos of their lunches. One of the common complaints was a decrease in the amount of protein (meat, fish, eggs).

“I heard from students that they eat pizza every day, but there is no meat on it. And only sometimes they get chicken nuggets,” she noted.

Questions for the authorities

The lawmaker sent a letter to the mayor's office and the city Department of Education (DOE) with questions about nutrition. Chu said she is still waiting for one of them to “answer exactly what the problem is.”

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A DOE spokesperson said that “all food quality issues are investigated immediately, and we follow extensive protocols every day to ensure food is stored, prepared and served safely.” The department said a team of inspectors visited the educational institutions Chu mentioned in her inquiries.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Tech high school student Teddy Simmons said he will continue to take lunches from home (he's been doing that for the past few weeks). The teenager hopes Chu's efforts will make a small difference.

“I think the quality of food has gone down since I came here. There are fewer chicken wings, he said. “In some cases, cheapness is prioritized, and it doesn’t matter whether children eat the food or not.”

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