Paterson mayor: ‘Unappetizing’ school lunches being addressed immediately

New Jersey

PATERSON, N.J. — After photos of Paterson school lunches made headlines twice in the past week, Mayor André Sayegh told the PIX11 Morning News on Friday the issue is being addressed immediately.

“It’s not very appealing, or appetizing at all,” Sayegh agreed when speaking on the latest photos that came out of the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex on Thursday.

The stomach-turning images even elicited a tweet from the school’s namesake’s daughter, Bernice King, who shared the photos on twitter and wrote, “Unacceptable.”

“They’re trying to move it at a breakneck pace to address this immediately,” Sayegh said.

Eileen Shafer, Superintendent of Paterson public schools, vowed to crack down on the meal quality Thursday, announcing three emergency meetings with food service administrators and cafeteria workers.

The mayor said the superintendent unveiled a five-point plan with emphasis on quality control.

As part of the school lunch overhaul, the district will mandate the food service department to eliminate the self-serve option and provide a protein, fruit, starch, and vegetable to every school lunch handed out moving forward.

According to Sayegh, while parents’ issues with the school lunches are not new, part of the hold up is ordering all new food, and what to do with the old food.

The mayor said that outsourcing the school lunches, or possibly changing the vendor, are options that are currently being considered.

In addition to meeting with kitchen staffers, the district is also planning on sending surveys out to students to get a better feel of what they like and don’t like about their school lunch options.

PIX11’s Andrew Ramos contributed to this report.

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