School lunches change after ice storm, officials talk food safety for students

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News 12 This Morning/Wednesday Feb. 19, 2014

RICHMOND CO., Ga. (WRDW)--"We do the same thing that you do at home to ensure that you have safe food," said Josephine Mack, Richmond County schools nutrition director.

Except on a grander scale.

With more than 55 schools in the Richmond County district, Mack says after the ice storm food safety came first.

"Cheese, eggs, left overs...anything that's being thawed in the refrigerator needs to be discarded," she said.

Nutrition managers across the county were able to come in the day before school started back to check and clean the freezers and dispose of any foods that might not have made it through the power outages.

"There will be a menu change so we'll have manager's choice probably for a week," Mack went on to say. "That means that we won't have what's on the printed menu. We will have what's in our freezer coolers and the pantry. But it still will be a meal that meets the meal pattern."

She says with the meals at no cost program, they're now looking at a decreased budget because of the unplanned days off.

"The days that we did not have school we didn't serve any meals which means we get no reimbursement," she explained. "But, still, the bills have to get paid."

Nutrition managers are also counting the amount of food lost from power outages.

"We won't know now but at the end of the month we will because we have to keep records of spoilage," she said.

But, despite the set backs, Mack says parents can be assured the condition of the meals aren't being affected.

"We would never serve food that is not of quality. We go all out and our managers are trained," she said. "Please don't worry about school meals because we're going to do what's necessary because we are doing what's best for children."

So, for lunch menus this week, call your school to find out what they're serving that day.

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