Lynn food fight: parents want better choices in schools


A group of parents with children in Lynn public schools are pushing for better school meals after learning their children have been given food with mold and lumpy milk.

LYNN – A group of parents from Lynn’s public schools have created a petition to have better, healthier food options for school students after photos of lunches with mold go viral.

The petition calls for a change of supplier, from current Revolution Foods, so that students can have adequate nutrition.

“Due to COVID-19, our city has received an abundance of funds to help improve schools. Nutrition should be our priority, ”the petition said.

Sophia Seang, one of the parents who created the petition, said she found a rotten sandwich her child offered for lunch on September 17.

Afterward, she said many other parents reported similar issues with moldy and rotten food in the past six months to a year.

“Parents and guardians have witnessed firsthand that there is a serious problem with the safety of this food,” said Seang. “It is very difficult to trust the food offered once you have seen your child eat moldy cheese or drink lumpy milk. ”

LPS relative Melody Finnegan said she noticed the unsafe state of the food when she picked up boxes of prepared lunches during the pandemic and often saw soggy bread, mashed beans, sour cheese and cold cuts.

“My daughter got a sandwich at school and when I asked her how it was she said” the cheese was curd cheese, so I had to take it off, then I tried to eat the rest, ”Finnegan said. “Since that point, I haven’t been able to trust the school lunch program and send them lunch from home.”

For families who cannot send lunch from home, they depend on food provided by schools, so Finnegan said children deserve safe and healthy food available to them every day.

Ursula Giroux is a mother of three boys and said one of her children had been severely ill twice since starting school, throwing up several times after eating a turkey club and again after eating a burrito, both provided by the school.

“The state of the food that is served to children is important because they cannot receive a proper education if they do not receive a healthy and adequate diet,” said Giroux.

LPS parent Tia Cole said it is very important for the school system to serve safe and good quality food because sometimes these meals are the only foods children need to eat.

“Hopefully in the future we can find a process to report any issues with meals, and if there is a problem there is a clear and specific way to report it and an open and transparent investigation to find out why, ”Cole said. noted.

LPS parent Sunya Ray suggested solutions to the food problem, including putting in place an immediate inspection protocol by schools after food has been dropped off, documenting all spoiled food, and clearing it. parents’ disposal of this information, as well as monthly follow-ups with the inspection service.

“Healthy, nutritional and edible breakfasts are essential to the mental and physical well-being of our children,” said Ray. “Our children are the future. To be successful, they must nourish the brain and the body.

Parent Rose Bingham said she hopes this petition will bring about changes, including providing schools with the right equipment to properly store food, seeing less food being thrown away and more children returning home well nourished.

The petition also suggests LPS builds local kitchens all over the city to prepare a healthier and more balanced menu for children. Meals are currently prepared in a kitchen about 10 miles from Lynn, packed and delivered to schools for the next day.

Those The kitchens, some parents said, will provide employment opportunities and could potentially provide opportunities for cooking students in local technical high schools to do their working hours, gaining work experience in high-volume kitchens for participation. prepare them for a career in the culinary arts.

“We all need to be able to trust the Lynn Breakfast Program to provide safe and healthy food,” Seang said. “We are asking for change. We need change.

Schools Superintendent Dr Patrick Tutwiler addressed this issue at a school committee meeting on Thursday evening, saying breakfast and lunch are important parts of the school day.

In 2017, LPS joined the Community Eligibility Provision, which enabled the district to provide universal and free breakfast and lunch to all LPS students, but Tutwiler said free meals do not and should not pass. express concern or concern about the quality of the meal.

In 2020, the district partnered with Revolution Foods, which must adhere to a set of strict guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and include protein, whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and milk with every meal, and must undergo quality control. check to ensure freshness.

“With all of the concerns expressed regarding the quality of the meals, we have launched a thorough investigation with Revolution Foods and Chartwells, the district’s meal management service provider,” said Tutwiler. “This approach allows us to modify a process if necessary or correct a misconception. Feedback can also lead to decisions about what to serve. We will encourage families to continue providing feedback directly to the school and the catering team.

Tutwiler invited LPS families to attend a foodservice exhibit on November 3, where families will have the opportunity to sample meals served in schools.

Representatives from Revolution Foods and Chartwells will be present at this event to answer questions and hear comments.

“In the opinion of many, the road to ending the pandemic will be long and winding. It will take a thoughtful strategy, consistency and patience, ”Tutwiler said. “It will also require the willingness of school district officials and their partners and families to work together on important issues. I believe that is what is happening with the meal issues.

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