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Parents want better lunches in Lynn public schools

Parents want better lunches in Lynn public schools

Complaints about spoiled food being served in Lynn public schools have prompted an investigation into the vendors who supply school lunches to the North Shore school district.

Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler said last week that a full investigation was launched into the district's meal service management providers Revolution Foods and Chartwells. On Nov. 3, an open house where families may sample food and provide feedback to vendors is planned.

The investigation was prompted by an outpouring of protest from some parents who say theyre concerned about the quality of food being served to their children. A group of parents launched an online petition calling for the school to provide better meals for students. More than 550 people had signed up as of Friday, according to the website.

This petition seeks to encourage the LYNN PUBLIC SCHOOL to provide better and healthier food options for our children, the petition states. There have been several instances when our children have received food that has expired, is moldy, or has a foul smell, he says.

Tutwiler addressed the issue in his superintendent's report on Oct. 14 and stated that an investigation is underway into the concerns that had been raised.

In his report, he stated, "Collecting and responding to feedback continues to be the centerpiece of our work." With all of the reported concerns about meal quality, we have undertaken a comprehensive investigation with Revolution Foods and Chartwells, the districts meal service management provider, according to the statement. This approach allows us to alter a process if necessary or correct misunderstandings. Feedback may also inform decisions on who to serve. We will encourage families to continue to provide feedback to the school and foodservice team directly.

Tutwiler is also inviting parents to attend the food service vendors next month's open house. The event will be held in the evening and Revolution Foods and Chartwells will attend to answer questions, he added.

Kirsten Tobey, Revolution Foods co-founder and chief impact officer, said in a statement Friday night that the firm would review all of its quality and food safety policies to ensure this type of issue will not occur in the future.

We, at Revolution Foods, take all issues relating to food quality very seriously, Tobey stated. We conduct thorough investigations of all quality issues that are reported to us. Parents and students are always encouraged to provide feedback about the quality of our meals.

Ursula Giroux has a first-grader, grad student, and 18-year-old who recently graduated from the Lynn Public Schools. She said her 10-year-old son was sickened by a turkey and cheese sub and that she finds the situation very disturbing.

He was vomiting violently. She said in a telephone interview that he vomited five times within an hour of returning home. About three weeks later he had a burrito and referred to the meat in the buritop as mystery meat.

Her son became increasingly ill again and went to the school nurse. I told the nurse that I think its the food thatre making my child sick, Giroux said.

Sophia Seang has three children in the Aborn Elementary School, where she works as a lunch aide.

Seang said she's seen moldy food as well as chunky milk that was clearly not suitable to drink.

"Its totally unacceptable," she said.

She said one of her children was given a rotten, spoiled turkey sandwich on Sept. 17.

It smelled like rotten meat, she said. The smell reeked through the plastic. The meat was brown, dry, and stinky.

Melody Finnegan has three children ages 6, 10, and 13, and is concerned about the quality of the meals that are being served to the children.

During the epidemic, when the schools were offering free meals for pick-up, she was given sour milk and inedible food. She said they were given a hot dog and the bun was soggy and hotdog meat tasted gritty and grainy. No one wanted to eat it.

Finnegan stated, "Weve hit a low here. Were passionate about this for a number of reasons. The food is simply horrible. And what safety procedures are in place here?

Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeley@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.

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