Concerns over dumped milk and juice

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

To the editors:

I have witnessed milk, juice, and food in closed containers in the dumpster outside a local school. These foods were not out of date.

The school was throwing away one or two big boxes of milk or juice whenever I checked (two or three times a week). Each box, I think, was about 5 gallons of milk or juice in little four-ounce containers.

If the food cannot be used in the school, can’t it be donated to a food bank?

Rachel Frankel

Editors’ note: We posed the question to Wayne Grasela, head of food services for the School District. He maintained that District waste of food is low due to conservative ordering. But some unopened items do get discarded – once food items are taken by students, they must be consumed or discarded, he said.

Regulations require the School District to reduce waste. Grasela said in a statement, “When students select their meals they have the option of denying two items of a five-item lunch and one item of a four-item breakfast. If students still have food they do not want they are encouraged to share it with another student by placing their unopened or unused food items on a sharing table centrally located in the cafeteria.”

The case described seems to involve cartons of food that had not ever been served to students. Grasela said that any school suspected of wasting food should be reported to the District’s Inspector General’s Office at 215-400-4030.