School nutrition isn't just as simple as going through the lunch line anymore. With the federal government imposing stricter rules on school nutrition programs, many schools are feeling the pushback from students and parents.
Banks County Schools are not exempt. As the new school year starts, parents are asking questions about their children's nutrition at school.
Stacey Morgan, director of school food and nutrition, updated the board of education at its August meeting about some of these questions.
Questions have been raised about the serving of ice cream at the primary and elementary schools. Since ice cream is not sold in the cafeteria at these schools, it is legally unable to compete with the school lunch program. This is why ice cream can only be sold after lunch.
Ice cream is sold at the middle and high schools through the cafeteria.
Vending machines are available during the school day at the elementary and high schools. All items in the machines much meet "smart snack regulations."
Morgan found that 13 items in the elementary school and three items at the high school were not in compliance. The vendors have been alerted.
Similar to the ice cream, vending machines are not supposed to operate during school lunch/breakfast times.
"If we let students buy food from the vending machines during serving times, we are not meeting federal regulations," said Morgan.
Some schools have placed timers on their vending machines to control when students can buy snacks.
The vending machines at the middle school will be in the new locker rooms and available to students and athletes 30 minutes after school ends.
Parents have also asked about tea and lemonade. The system previously served homemade tea and lemonade at the high and middle schools. These drinks do not meet the new regulations.
Instead, each student is given the option of milk, water and juice.
Another change is that parents of students with food allergies will now need to fill out a new form. The form will have to be filled out, kept on file and redone each year by a pediatrician. The doctor is also required to name a specific substitute.
Parents have also raised questions about the requirement for students to walk through the line in the cafeteria. This is not mandated but based on the preferences of the specific schools.
All in all, Morgan says the changes have been detrimental to the system.
"We've lost participation having to follow these guidelines," said Morgan. "We're just the messenger in this. It's all coming from the USDA."
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry