What Are They Feeding Us?

Why lunches at Troy High have changed since Covid started.



School lunches, yum. Well, not necessarily. Many at Troy High have received moldy vegetables, food of questionable quality, and tasteless mush. 

This is because of supply chain issues plaguing our country at the moment. Due to COVID-19, a few things have happened: factories were shut down, workers at factories and delivery locations were sick or quarantined and the demand for many products bought online has increased ten folds. All of this directly affects Troy High and the lunches they serve.

Students at Troy High have been slightly unhappy about the new lunches.

 When asked what changes they had noticed in school lunches since COVID started, sophomore Grace Haugk said, 

“I’ve noticed that the portions are small, there are fewer choices, and the taste and quality have gone down”. 

This observation is extremely accurate. Portions have gotten smaller, because food is now state regulated. Lunch being state regulated means that the portions need to be smaller so they can have a greater quantity of food for more people. 

The fact that there are fewer choices at lunch is due to COVID-19 and supply chain issues. Supply chain issues come from there being less workers in factories and shipping locations. Those who are working are at a greater risk of getting COVID. The lack of stability in workers and companies means only so much can be produced and there has to be fewer options because companies only have so many people to make the food. 

Lastly, the quality of food has gone down due to lunches being supplied by the state and supply chain issues. 

When asked if she had noticed a change in quality due to COVID, food service director for the Troy School District Nicole Gervais responded,

“Absolutely, we have certain food contracts with certain brands, so because of the demand everyone is ordering the same amount. So when we order our products they do this thing called auto sub, auto substitution.” Gervais explained that auto substitution can interfere with the quality of the district’s food selection. “For example if we put an order in for hamburgers and they don’t have the particular brand that is higher quality they will auto sub it for whatever they can get. Be it a generic brand or something that’s similar to it, but it does impact the quality.” 

This practice causes a lot of uncertainty in the food service department. Gervais said, “For example when we get a delivery on Monday it’ll be a kind of surprise what we are getting. Most of the products are automatically substituted, and it does impact the quality. We still want to make sure we have options available, but the quality has been kind of hit or miss”.

As Gervais said, they are trying their best to have options for students, so they don’t have to eat the same food everyday. However it is very hard to gauge if the food they are ordering and serving is good, because so much of it isn’t consistent. Those who work for the food service directory are in a tricky spot, and they are trying their best to serve us good lunches. 

This may feel like it is the first time the food has ever changed, but that is simply untrue. When Obama was president, Michelle Obama was a huge advocate for schools to serve more nutritious meals. With all of her campaigning as the first lady, Michelle was able to get the The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed. 

This act changed school lunches making them healthier by requiring fruits and vegetables, fat free or low fat milk, and getting rid of food high in trans fat and sodium. 

Implementing this caused the way food tasted to change drastically, and this in turn brought many complaints from students. This is similar to today with the change in food due to COVID

When asked if he had heard any complaints about lunches, vice principal Daniel House said,

“When we were going to more nutritional lunches, probably like eight years ago, students complained about the food not being as tasty”. 

So the food that is served has changed before, and both times the food change was for a valid reason. It may be slightly aggravating at times that the food “doesn’t taste as good as it used to”, but it is a great reminder that the food we considered good was once considered gross.