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Are students served out of date food?

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  A metro Atlanta School system was caught serving outdated food to student.

That raises the question, are other lunchrooms serving up old food?

Inspectors found scrambled egg mix, cheese, turkey loaf, Yogurt, and other items at Marietta schools out of date. We wondered what steps schools here take to make sure out of date food doesn't end up on students trays.

A year ago when the new cafeteria manger came on she changed up how Dougherty Schools buy food. All of the food comes to this central warehouse and is doled out to schools on a weekly or sometimes a daily basis.

At Radium Springs Middle Magnet School a lot of students buy their lunch. Sixth grader Cory Mitchell likes the changes made in the last year.

"The lunches they serve here are hot and fresh and they're just cooked and they give us a lot nutrition to work," said Cory Mitchell, a sixth grader.

We questioned how fresh the food dished out to kids is and what the school system does to ensure food isn't out of date.

"We don't keep a lot of stock, we don't have a large warehouse stuffed full of food with the potential to become harmed or out of date," said R.D. Harter, Dougherty County Schools Information Director.

Everything comes into the central warehouse downtown, although our camera were not allowed in the building. We're told smaller orders are placed according to what's needed. It's then distributed to the individual school kitchens sometimes daily. In our unannounced visit to the stock room at Radium Middle School we found everything dated.

"We mark the date that they arrive, those dates are used so they can pick the stuff that's been there the longest and serve it first before it goes out of date," said Harter.

Earlier this month the schools held an event downtown to explain how their trying to use more locally grown, fresh farm produce in the lunchroom.

"By ordering in smaller quantities on an as needed basis by the menu we're able to keep our food fresher," said Harter.

"I like their sweet potato fries," said Mitchell.

By choosing healthier options for students like Cory and teaching the kids more about nutrition, they also hope to cut down on childhood obesity.

We didn't find anything that was out of date in the stockrooms we were in, although we couldn't check out perishable items because they were not made accessible. School officials say, food that is out of date is destroyed.

In Dougherty County, breakfast is provided free to all students. Lunch is $1.25 for elementary students and $1.50 for middle and high school students, although many families qualify for a reduced price lunch. Menus are posted on the school system's website.


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