Sense and sensibility

Over-the-top stories on foodservice.

Schools are back in session, and apparently that means open season on school foodservice. This week alone I have seen no fewer than 10 opinion pieces on the state of school foodservice, most of them negative and at least one, as you’ll see, just a bit over the top.

One of the great things about America is freedom of speech, and the Internet has given virtually everyone a place to utter their opinions freely. That doesn’t necessarily mean we get substantive and reasoned debate as a result, however.

Earlier this week I saw a column in an online publication called Natural News that was titled “School Lunch: Where the Real Weapons of Mass Destruction Lie.” You can see why it got my attention.

It was written by a Hawaiian “citizen journalist” by the name of Hesh Goldstein. His bio listed him as “vegetarian since 1975, vegan since 1990. Moderator of a weekly radio show in Honolulu called Health Talk since 1981.” Goldstein doesn’t say what his background is in health and nutrition, other than to note that he “obtained a master’s degree in nutrition, in 2007, to silence the so-called ‘doctors’ that called in on my weekly radio show asking for my ‘credentials.’”

His opinion piece blamed school foodservice and the federal government for the childhood obesity problem. He calls the National School Lunch Program “a disaster,” claims that the public “is kept nutritionally uneducated,” and suggests that school meals “routinely fail to meet nutritional standards.”

Goldstein makes a number of outrageous and/or contradictory claims and suggestions in the article. For example, he says that “very little” of the reimbursement money schools in the NSLP receive actually goes to food. Why? “Because the schools have to use it to pay for everything from the custodial services to heating the cafeteria.”

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Industry News & Opinion

University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

“Word of mouth is getting out, and every day I get a few more people,” Ryan Carlson, a cook at the...

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Industry News & Opinion

Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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