School lunch menus face changes amid supply shortages

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school lunch(WTVY)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A number of area schools are making last minute menu changes for lunch because they’re not receiving food that was ordered. Suppliers say it’s because of the ongoing pandemic.

In the Appleton Area School District, the situation became noticeable a few weeks ago.

“We’ve had a lot of our protein things we’re having problems getting, but really it can be anything as far as fresh vegetables to fruit to your main entree protein products,” said Food Services general manager Darann Morgan.

Since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a slate of waivers giving schools more flexibility to meet federal nutritional guidelines.

On Sept. 15, the department issued a new waiver preventing school meal programs from being financially penalized if they fail to meet the guidelines because of supply-chain issues.

Morgan added, “It’s really just a national problem, right, with our labor shortages and different products that are being shorted. So it’s right up to the manufacturer.”

Other school districts, including Neenah and Oshkosh, confirmed having the similar issues with their food vendors.

Right now, it’s unclear how long the situation will last. “We’re trying to prepare for at least a few months down the road,” Morgan said.

According to a survey by the School Nutrition Association, 97 percent of schools nationally are concerned about supply chain issues.

Locally, Morgan says the shortage isn’t as bad here as it is elsewhere.

“It really hasn’t impacted our schools too much, and we’re working with, like I said, our distribution centers and our food service associates in our schools and I think we’re covering it quite well.”

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