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School System Revamps Food Service

Published: 27 Oct 2010 22:18:15 PST

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

October 21, 2010

Changes are coming to the way food is served to students in the Marietta City (GA) Schools system. As part of a plan to improve its food-service process, the system will close its warehouse that supplies food to the city’s schools. Instead, it will ship the items directly from the vendor to each school.

The change comes after two schools were found to have served expired cafeteria food. A former warehouse manager told CBS Atlanta about the problems last month after school system officials did nothing to fix them. And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that Cobb and Douglas County Health Department inspectors discovered expired food at A.L. Burruss in March 2009 and at Marietta High School on Sept. 8.

A series of reports from investigators cited a number of inefficiencies in the system’s processes, including inventory control issues at the warehouse, which costs $100,000 a year to operate. All the district’s schools except West Side Elementary have their own freezers to receive their food directly. After a feasibility study is completed, the warehouse will be closed, schools spokesman Thomas Algarin said.

“My child has been eating cafeteria food at his school since he started kindergarten this year, and we’ve never had an issue,” said Cheryl Cargill, whose son attends A.L. Burruss Elementary. “But I’m sure this will eliminate the possibility for future problems.”

In addition to closing the warehouse, investigators recommended that the school system implement a training process and provide written guidance for all food-service employees, reinforce food-safety guidelines and review the employee complaint process.

Despite the planned improvements, Dianna West will continue to send homemade lunches to West Side Elementary with her two sons. “Prior to [the expired food issue in Marietta], I had heard bad things about school food in general,” she said. “The changes are good to hear because I'm sure, as the boys get older, buying lunch at school will be something they want to do and something I will have to consider.”

Source: ASQ

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