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.  

social media

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association has made public the 2018 recipients of its annual Silver Plate awards.

The nine winners—each of whom was given the top prize in their respective foodservice segment—include four well-known names in noncommercial:

Healthcare: Jim McGrody , director of culinary and nutrition services at UNC Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, N.C. C&U: Dennis Pierce , executive director of dining services at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. B&I: Michiel Bakker , director of global food services for Google K-12: Ken Yant,...
Industry News & Opinion

Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in Brunswick, Maine, is hosting a mentorship program that brings in local community members to have lunch with second-graders twice a week, The Forecaster reports.

The program is aimed to foster conversation between the students and area adults, and staff say they are happy to have the extra adult supervision during lunch and recess.

Officials would like to find more volunteers to expand the program to the third, fourth and fifth grades in the future.

Read the full story via .

Ideas and Innovation
buying small

Here’s a stunner for noncommercial operators who work with one big supplier: Smith College buys food from more than 50 different suppliers. And only three of those suppliers sell Smith more than 3% of its food. “We know boutique,” says Andy Cox, director of Dining Services at the Northampton, Mass., school. “There are ways to make it work.”

Adding to Smith’s challenges: Dining Services has 12 kitchens and no central receiving, and works to ensure that 20% of its food is fair, local, humane and/or ecologically sound.

Teamwork between a food buyer and financial systems...

Industry News & Opinion

Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is celebrating National Nutrition Month by offering free weekly samples of plant-based items , as well as hosting produce-centric events around campus, the Indiana Daily Student reports.

Every Wednesday this month, students will be able to sample such dishes as vegetable vindaloo, lemon-herb quinoa salad, and pistachio and apricot couscous. Some of the items featured have been offered previously on campus, while others are new recipes.

The university has also partnered with a culinary training organization to launch two plant-based...

FSD Resources