The Washington Times has a story today examining the relationship between DC Public Schools and Chartwells, the company providing school lunch/breakfast services. DCPS pays Chartwells nearly $30 million a year, but has a spotty track record for food quality and safety. The most disturbing incident was failure to warn school officials about a tortilla recall after serving those same tortillas to students in Racine, WI. 100 students from 5 schools became sick in connection to the recalled food.
The Slow Cook also recently spent a week in a DC Public School cafeteria kitchen, observing the food quality and preparation. While I agree with their overall premise that pre-cooked “beef crumbles” and nacho cheese heated up on a steamer table still in its plastic bag does not count as “fresh cooked” the way Michelle Rhee wants it to be, I think the real scandal is that so many schools don’t have kitchens in them and therefore couldn’t brown their own ground beef or cook their own vegetables if they wanted to. (And to be fair, The Slow Cook sees this as emblematic of a larger problem of school nutrition standards, and not an issue at DC Public Schools specifically.)