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Menasha school under fire for food handling practices

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MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) Parents whose kids attend one local middle school are upset because they say the school is mishandling the redistribution of food.

Parents are concerned this practice could make their kids sick.

Several parents whose kids attend Maplewood Middle School reported food service workers picking food out of the garbage and being redistributed.

Angela Kersten’s son attends Maplewood and says, “The first week of January my son came home extremely concerned and told me that lunch my friend and I were sitting and we watched the lunch lady pick unopened food out of the garbage and put it into a bin.”

That bin is called the “no thank you bin”

Kersten says, “The ‘no thank you bin’ in an amazing admirable thing for kids that do not want certain food items. They can put it in the “no thank you bin” and then other kids can receive the items for free if they’re still hungry.”

The issue is two-fold for parents with kids at Maplewood.

First, food workers at Maplewood picking food out of the trash and second, the handling of dairy products placed in the “no thank you bin”.

Kersten says, “We’re taking unopened packages or I”m not even certain how well-sealed they are, but there’s yogurt, string cheese, apples and putting them into a bin and what they’re doing from there I’m not sure. Also, you run into food practices with proper temperature holding. A yogurt and string cheese are supposed to be held at a proper temperature.”

Chris L. VanderHeyden, Superintendent of Schools for Menasha Joint School District provided this response to WFRV:

“At Maplewood Middle School we have “No Thank You” bins that allow students to deposit an item that is unopened or fruit without an edible rind if they do not want it or choose not to eat it. Students are encouraged to use these bins in order to reduce food waste in our cafeteria. A couple well intentioned adults who supervise our lunchroom saw that some of these items were being discarded and chose to take them out of the garbage and place them in the bins. This was not the intention of the bins and once this practice was brought to our attention it was discontinued immediately. No items that are placed in the bins are in violation of temperature regulations, as the general rule is four hours and none of these items are in the bins for longer than the lunch periods at school. After the lunch period, all items in the bin are discarded, per guidelines. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and assure you that we have full confidence in our foodservice partners and will continue to work to provide safe, quality meals for our students in the Menasha Joint School District.”

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