NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the front burner again are the meals served to the city’s 1.1 million public school students.
CBS2 has uncovered another stomach-turning example of bad food as the new schools chancellor hires an outside accounting firm to audit school food contracts, Marcia Kramer reported exclusively on Monday.
Green, moldy bread is something no parent wants their kids to eat, but yet it turned up at a Brownsville, Brooklyn, school last week.
“I’m disgusted by this and I’m outraged by this,” Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “This looks like a piece of bacteria.”
Stringer investigated after cafeteria workers in several boroughs told CBS2 that moldy bread has become a fact of life because, they charge, about two years ago the city changed its bread contract. It limited it to one vendor for “integrated and coordinated service,” but daily bread deliveries were canceled and most schools get fresh bread only twice a week.
Workers say the bread often turns moldy. Comptroller Stringer said he’s now probing the Department of Education’s food contracts.
“We have been saying to the DOE that part of the job is to make sure that you look at the procurement process, the contracting process to make sure that we get good outcomes. Green bread is not a good outcome,” Stringer said.
And its not like the DOE hasn’t been put on notice. CBS2 has shown you the stomach-turning pictures featuring disgusting pizza, moldy egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwiches and chicken with metal pieces and bones. As for the bread, the DOE’s own survey shows it has known about the problem and apparently did nothing, complained some of the 273 food managers surveyed by the agency last year.
They also complained about something auditors should look at — being forced to serve a pricey cereal called “Back to the Roots,” which features a purple corn flake.
“Back to the Roots cereals are not a hit. It has been described as disgusting and tasteless by the students. Why is it one the menu twice a week,” was one of several complaints.
It’s also expensive, costing 45 cents per serving for Back to the Roots, as opposed to 17 cents for Raisin Bran and 19 cents for Cheerios.
Late Monday, the DOE issued a statement saying, “Our students deserve healthy and safe food. We’re conducting an audit of food vendor contracts and we made a recent referral to investigators regarding allegations of impropriety.”
Last week, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza pledged to overhaul school food.
“School nutrition, school food is a critical component of equity for our students,” Carranza said.
School officials told CBS2’s Kramer that starting Monday the accounting firm of Ernst & Young will conduct an audit of school food contracts. Allegations about improprieties in the bread delivery contract were referred to the school special prosecutor’s office last week.