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Lots of food wasted under new school lunch guidelines

6:35 PM, Oct 11, 2012   |    comments
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By Ashley Yarchin

St. Charles (KSDK) - Since the start of the school year, we've been talking to you about new school lunch guidelines put out by the federal government to help end our country's obesity epidemic. They are healthier, but many parents, teachers, and students say the guidelines aren't making them happier.

In fact, this latest complaint could cause you to lose your appetite.

NewsChannel 5 went to Blackhurst Elementary to conduct a little experiment.

"Is there any time you guys have gone through lunch, they suggested you pick up something that you did not want and you ended up throwing it away? Can you raise your hands if that has happened," asked one of the staff members to the fourth graders eating lunch Wednesday.

More than half the group raised their hands.

And we're not just talking trash here at this City of St. Charles School. We called around, and full pieces of fruit, unopened milk cartons, and other items are going from lunch trays to trash cans across the country.

"It makes me feel bad every time I throw away something that I haven't eaten," said Claudia Hensley, who is 9-years-old.

"There was this apple sauce and I tried it and I didn't like it, so I tossed it in the trash," added Olivea Garson, who is also nine.

The kids think they can't help it because according to federal guidelines, to create a meal, students must take a fruit or veggie as well as add two items from any other food group. What they take but don't eat is considered contaminated, so it gets tossed. It's a sad situation for a school district with 41 percent of students on free and reduced lunches, many of whom could benefit from taking the extra food home.

"If you know anybody's going hungry and there's food going in the trash, if you're human, that hurts," said District Superintendent Dr, Jeff Marion.

He went on to explain that that unless the government gives other orders, his hands are tied.

"I think there should be a place where you could donate food and then put it to there and then they could take it to kids who need food," Olivea said.

And so, basically, those kids' kindness is canned, too.

One thing Blackhurst Elementary has done to curb waste is move recess to before lunch. That way kids aren't tossing out food just to get outside faster.


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