City bans student from posting photos of school meals online

Nine year old’s battle with censorship puts school meals staff in negative light.

A few weeks back I read an article about a nine-year-old Scottish student who started a blog about the meals served in her school. She rated the meals based on overall taste, portions, health, courses and pieces of hair. The student, Martha Payne, also posted photos of the meals to her blog. 

What drew me to this article was it was yet another perfect example of why we at FSD selected students as one of our 20 Most Influential. Payne, who started the blog as a writing assignment to raise money for her school’s meal program, doesn’t criticize the meals like a normal nine year old would. She’s thoughtful about what she says, and says she wanted to find out things like where her chicken was raised. Payne was engaging with her meal program and wanted to learn more about the food she was eating. How could anyone find fault with that?

Well, someone did. According to Today, town officials in Lochgilphead, where Payne lives, were not amused by the blog and banned her from posting photos of her school lunches. The officials said in a statement that the photos were misleading and had caused distress to the cafeteria staff.

This really got me going. As a journalist, I deplore censorship. If you don’t like the way you’re being portrayed in the media, change that perception. I have no idea if the cafeteria workers in Payne’s school had anything to do with the photo ban, but shame on whomever instigated this ban. This was a perfect opportunity for the cafeteria staff to work with Payne, to find out what she liked and didn’t like and how they could work with her to improve all of the students’ meal enjoyment. Instead, the incident started a worldwide outcry that made the school’s meal program look bad, regardless of the role, if any, they played in the photo ban.

Following the public outcry, the ban was lifted and Payne is back to sharing photos of her school meals. You can check out her blog here.  

Keywords: 
social media

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
health food medicine stethoscope

For the last two years, Chris Studtmann has jockeyed between Northwestern University’s residential dining halls and athletic training tables in his role of executive chef, trying to meet the health and food preferences of both sides. Now, his team is taking best practices developed for the sports teams to the 20,000-plus student population, working with dietitians from the school’s contract company to better sync healthy menu choices with lifestyle needs.

Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report shows younger consumers are especially tuned in to functional foods that...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

FSD Resources