El Paso

Canutillo ISD to change breakfast program in face of allegations of expired food

Canutillo ISD to change breakfast...

EL PASO, Texas - Canutillo Independent School District voted not to renew its contract with a company providing the district's controversial breakfast program.

Parents, students and teachers packed Tuesday's meeting to voice concerns about the food's quality and allege some items were served after its expiration date.

The district stopped serving breakfast made and served in school cafeterias about a year ago and instead hired Arizona-based Southwest Foodservice Excellence. Breakfast at all schools is now served in the classroom.

Some said they have been voicing their concerns to the district's board of trustees, president and district superintendent for months.

A district spokesperson said the idea was to save the district money, but critics said it was happening at the cost of children.

Parent Gustavo Vasquez brought a picture of a waffle's packaging that he said had an expiration date of Nov. 8, 2016. The father claimed the waffle was served to his child in January 2017.

"I am very concerned with what the district is feeding our kids. As everybody in there said, it is all sugar, preservatives, packaged foods and that it not what our kids should eat. They should eat breakfast that is made in the cafeteria the day of," Vasquez said.

Board trustee Blanca Trout was disturbed by the allegations of expired food.

"I have no doubt this was disconcerting because I have a daughter here too. What really concerns me is the expiration date," Trout said.

Representatives from the foodservice company were on hand and defended their work. Stephanie Lucas is a registered dietician and representative for Southwest Foodservice Excellence.

"We are a company run by dieticians and chefs and our whole goal is to increase quality to increase variety. We have about 25 different concepts," Lucas said

Board president Laure Searls questioned the company's alleged plans.

"I found it very insulting about two weeks ago in our Thursday packet, see how this is all crumpled up? I was so angry about this I took it and did that. I was not a bit happy to read the nonchalant attitude that was written that we would be outsourcing our people and it will be quick and non controversial," Searls said.

The district's superintendent wanted to give the company another chance to improve, but board trustees voted to allow the contract to expire at the end of June and not renew it.
 


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