NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza vows to find a new recipe for delivering meals to the city’s 1.1 million public school students after CBS2 uncovered another stomach turning example of inedible food.
The green moldy bread that turned up at a Brownsville, Brooklyn school last week is something Carranza never wants to see on any student’s lunch tray.
“It’s absolutely disgusting. There’s no reason why that should happen,” the chancellor admitted.
However, it did happen. Two years ago the Department of Education’s food unit changed its bread contract. Daily bread deliveries were cancelled. Most schools now get fresh bread only twice a week.
Cafeteria workers tell CBS2 that when the bread sits out it often gets moldy.
“I’m not going to rest and my team isn’t going to rest until we not only eliminate that thing from happening but that doesn’t happen again,” Carranza said.
The chancellor has ordered an independent audit of the food contracts, but CBS2 has turned up numerous examples of things the auditors should question.
One example of the department’s inefficiency are chicken dumplings the DOE is reportedly paying $84.88 a case for – to a company that gets it from the manufacturer for $60.
Schools would save $1.8 million by buying directly from that manufacturer.
There are many other similar examples – such as yogurt parfaits and cereals – where the DOE is reportedly not getting the best bang for the buck.
“This is exactly the kind of efficiencies we want the auditors to give us feedback on and give us some substantive recommendations on,” Carranza added.
The chancellor says he’s also concerned that kids aren’t eating the meals that they’re served.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer showed the chancellor pictures of chicken dumpling and fried rice meals on the menu last week which were mostly thrown away because cafeteria workers claim they’re high on the kids’ “you can’t expect me to eat that” list.
School workers told CBS2 the food is being purchased by people who don’t care if the kids eat it.
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“It’s a matter of social justice for many of our kids this is the only meal that they eat,” Carranza claimed. “They have to appetizing to our students.”
One thing on the chancellor’s plate is to establish a board of student food tasters; to help develop menus that kids will actually eat.
Chancellor Carranza has hired the accounting firm of Ernst & Young to audit the food contracts. They’re also being examined by the City Comptroller, and the Department of Investigation.