Lunch issues at RCSD persist |

Lunch issues at RCSD persist

Emily Putnam
Created: March 03, 2021 06:30 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Tuesday, Rochester City School District Board of Education commissioner Amy Maloy tweeted out a photo of what appears to be rotten lunch meat served in the district as part of a school lunch.

Maloy is a parent of four children in the RCSD, as well as a member of the Board of Education, and a teacher in the Brighton Central School District. Her tweet sparked an online conversation about inequities in the funding of city schools versus suburban schools.

Dan DiClemente, who is President of BENTE, the union that represents food service employees in the RCSD, said that the issue is likely due to cafeterias in the district being short-staffed.

“We are in a situation now where there is not enough cook managers with the certifications needed to cook hot meals in schools,” DiClemente said. “The district made a conscious decision in the beginning that they weren’t going to supplement the food service fund from the general fund like they did last year.”

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski has concerns over what message these menu items could send to RCSD students. 

“Children who are presented with that kind of a meal at school must feel like they don’t matter very much,” Urbanski said. “Our children deserve a better lunch than that. No other community in our area would tolerate this.” 

When News10NBC contacted RCSD for comment on the issue, we got a statement back saying that the district received a shipment from its food vendor, Long Island-based Tasty Brands LLC, that was not up to district standards.

The statement continues to say “Beginning Thursday, March 4, the RCSD will make all of its sandwiches in-house for students learning in person. The product for the sandwiches will come from local vendors.” 

Tasty Brands says that the discoloration on the lunch meat in the photos “in no way represents a food safety issue” and is a result of “uneven curing during the production process.”

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