Changes in federal requirements leads to wasted food

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) – New regulations regarding the federal Child Nutrition Act is leading to to excess, wasted food.

“We’re struggling to determine how to get students not to waste food.”

Leeann Seelman, Child Nutrition Director for Pitt County schools, says all breakfast and lunch served at school must now contain a fruit or vegetable.

But often times, the fruit or veggie that must be put on the plate, just gets thrown out.

“We have wasted food that’s not eaten by our students, and our goal is to actually have those students pick them up and eat them. Not just pick them up and eat them because they have to as part of a federal requirement.”

This problem extends across the state.

In Lenoir County, the Kinston Free Press reports if just one quarter of the 4,600 students eating breakfast and lunch throws out their healthy item, $50,000 gets wasted over the course of one school year.

Schools are trying to come up with a solution, as wasted food means wasted taxes.

Students and teachers at Ayden Middle School looked at food waste in their own school.

“It was disheartening to see kids not even trying to eat what was given to them, said Jason Wade, Stem Facilitator at Ayden Middle School. “They just went over and threw it directly in the trash can.”

After completing a project on wasted food, they found that on one given day, up to 91% of the healthy food is thrown out, without being eaten.

“They all experience this tremendous wasted food,” said Seelman. “I think it goes beyond the meal pattern. I think it’s a statement about our society, that we’re not afraid to pick things up and waste them.”

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