Portage temporarily pulls lettuce due to quality issues

Tori Henderson, Editor-in-Chief

Any lunch items made with lettuce have been pulled from Portage Township Schools lunch menus temporarily due to issues surrounding the quality of the vegetable.

According to Portage Township Schools Director of Food Services Lisa Hayes, the recent hurricanes, wildfires and floods have taken a toll on crops, leaving supplies rotted or damaged by heat.

“The decision to pull any item, including lettuce, from the menu, even temporarily, is not a light decision. We take it very seriously,” Hayes said.

Hayes said poor crop quality is an inconvenience to school nutrition, as the school is required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer a green leafy meal component weekly.

“We do want students to eat lunch with us and to enjoy the meals that we serve. We are always looking for better tasting items and new improved favorites that also fall into the rules we have to follow,” Hayes said. “You may be surprised to know that we often feel the same way and wish we could go back to regular pizza, Nacho Beef ‘Ole, and french fries that are actually fried, not baked; but we do have to follow rules.”

Portage Township Schools is part of the National School Lunch Program, which is a federally funded program that must be followed so the school meal program can continue and so the school can receive money for keeping the program intact.

Hayes said Food Services are currently looking for other products they can use until crops are stable again for students wanting salads at lunch.

Food Services will be increasing the daily offerings of veggie burgers at lunch for students looking for a vegetarian option, and they will be looking into veggie, hummus and pita bread options as well.