Returning West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) students definitely noticed a change in cafeteria options this year due to a new company taking responsibility for school food services: Aramark. This change caused many of student body to become disappointed and frustrated that the school no longer served foods they have become accustomed to eating.
Aramark, an American food service, facilities, and clothing provider, supplies businesses, educational institutions, sports facilities, federal and state prisons, and health care institutions with healthy food options. West Bloomfield must have seen something good in Aramark to hire them, however Aramark has experienced challenges. In 2012 two Aramark employees were arrested while working at a New Mexico prison. One employee was smuggling in food and the other was smuggling in drugs. Also in 2012, The Lens (New Orleans’ nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest online newsroom) reported that of 82 public school cafeterias, only 8 did not receive violations following inspection. Violations are reported to have included insects and rat feces. No such reports have been reported in WBSD.
Here in West Bloomfield, students have felt this has been a drastic change compared to previous years, both with regard to the change of Aramark and the legislative changes around serving healthy foods. Although most students are upset with these changes, these changes could benefit their health and provide more lunch options. Students think of the glass as half empty, only paying attention to the lack of their missing sweets, blind to the benefits that these new lunches provide. Before this year we did not have the option of nachos, paninis, etc. These changes can help improve student health and knowledge about what they put into their body.
The National School Act (NSLA) helps students voice their opinion. Mrs. Caroline A. Smith, Director of Food and Nutrition at WBHS expressed that Aramark wants to meet students’ requests, “Everyday we are adding something new. If you look, we now added a panini grill at the Deli line, we’re changing all of our dinnerware, so you are going to see all kinds of merchandising changes. We encourage feedback, we want everybody to come talk to us and tell us how they feel. We love suggestions.”
When told about the option of voicing opinions about the lunches, Taylor Grier, sophomore WBHS student said, “I didn’t think that was possible, but I will surely tell my friends about it.”
“That’s really cool that they want to hear our suggestions, it lets me know they care,” said Kiara Brown, a sophomore WBHS student.
The food as of late, has become rather good, according to the students. When asked how they now feel about the changes, students said this:
“The food is actually pretty good. I like the nachos, they are pretty good,” said DeVinceia Pinkins, a sophomore WBHS student.
“I really like the sandwiches. There are different varieties of everything, and they even toast it,” Alexis Chism, a sophomore WBHS student.
The food changes, at first, seemed bad. Now it does not really seem so bad. It is different from the previous years, but change is not necessarily a bad thing.
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