School Meals scrutiny is a wake-up call, official says

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By Orville Williams

“Maybe it’s a little wake-up and it will just send the message home a little further that it’s not just me wanting to be hard on persons, but this is what is expected,” the Head of the National School Meals Programme, Ezra Knowles told OBSERVER media in response to the recent scrutiny that has been placed on the programme. 

“We feed our nation’s most vulnerable and we have to prepare. Despite [having] some other little challenges that make the situation a little difficult, it is important for us to do that and that is what we are focusing on at the moment – especially presentation, not only taste, but the way that the food is presented,” she said.

Yesterday’s front page of The Daily OBSERVER depicted photographs of poorly presented meals that were allegedly being served to students and teachers in public schools. The photos accompanied a letter to the editor that suggested the students had been complaining that the food was undercooked and unpalatable and had been refusing to collect the meals from the serving centres at the schools.

Other allegations from other sources were in regard to the cooking time and seasoning of the food, which left much to be desired. The allegations also pointed to the unsatisfactory upkeep of the kitchen and instances where staff is taking the food to their homes which, in turn, causes a shortfall in the portions available for the children.

The source also explained that out of fear of victimisation, these concerns are not shared as formal complaints with the management of the programme.

Knowles lamented the timing of the public scrutiny, and insisted that these issues had been discussed recently on an internal level.

Read more in today’s newspaper

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