CONROE, Texas – Parents knows it can be difficult to get kids to eat their greens, but after an incident at a Texas high school some students may never eat vegetables again.
“There’s no way they could’ve missed (them), picking up a handful of broccoli like they do with their gloves on and not seen these ginormous bugs,” Melissa Evans, mother of Caney Creek High School junior Falyn Evans, told Click2Houston.
Falyn Evans and her friend were served the bug-infested broccoli for lunch Monday and the two almost ate the insects before they realized they were there.
“It was kind of strange and gross that we had actually seen it and that it happened to us,” she said.
KFOR reports school officials acknowledged the problem in an email to parents that provided very few details.
“Any concerns are taken very seriously and Conroe (Independent School District’s) Child Nutrition Department is addressing the situation.”
Food inspectors went through the cafeteria food Tuesday and discovered more bugs – the district contends they’re aphids – in a batch of frozen broccoli, and believe the infestation was limited to the one batch, KFOR reports.
Regardless, Melissa Evans said she’s not taking any chances, and will pack her daughter’s lunch for the rest of the school year.
“She will be taking lunches,” Evans told Click2Houston. “She will not be eating it anymore, at all.”
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That means Falyn Evans will join more than 1 million students who have opted out of the National School Lunch Program since new federal guidelines on nutrition went into effect in 2012. The federal lunch restrictions set limits on calories, fat, sugar, sodium, whole grains, and other aspects of school food, including food sold outside the cafeteria.
The changes, which have resulted in student revolts across the country, are the brainchild of first lady Michelle Obama, and are intended to fight childhood obesity through bureaucracy. The new federal school food regulations also require students to take a fruit or vegetable with every meal, whether they want it or not.
In many schools, student simply dump the greens in the garbage, a major reason why school food waste has ballooned to $1 billion annually since the new restrictions were implemented.
The broccoli bugs are only making matters worse.
KFOR reports another school district in Virginia has also struggled with school food issues recently, prompting parents in King and Queen counties to complain the food is making their children sick.
“Two boys are coming home daily with migraines because they can’t eat what’s on their plates at school,” Beth Paulette, the boys’ mother.
Paulette told WTVR the pizza, ribs, and hamburgers served to students at King and Queen Central High School are burnt beyond recognition and inedible.
“It looked so unappetizing I could not bring myself to try it at all,” ninth grader Precious Jackson told the news site.
A WTVR reporter broached the issue with Stanley Jones, district superintendent.
“Would you want the children here eating food that looked like that or being served food that looked like that?” the reporter questioned.
“Of course not,” Jones said, according to WTVR.
Jones blamed the problem on cafeteria staff not working as a team, and said he suspended the head of the district’s food services a few weeks ago.
But the food services manager, Suzanne Gilbertson, showed WTVR multiple emails she sent Jones asking to intervene, and was rebuffed.
“I was advised that these employees, they do not report to me, as they report to human resources and the superintendent,” Gilbertson told the news site.