District manager discusses school lunch

By Johnathan Lash, Staff Writer

Broward County Public Schools program manager for nutrition education and training, Darlene Moppert, visited the journalism class on May 25 to discuss school lunches to the students who consume them.

Triggered by a letter sent from a journalism student, Moppert’s visit focused on debunking myths concerning school lunches and discussing with students the process behind its creation.

One topic discussed was where school lunches derive their ingredients. Moppert explained that the food comes from private providers such as Tyson Foods and Holsum (which sell meat and bread respectively) for profit but still must follow federal regulations for school nutrition.

These federal regulations, Moppert said, require the cafeteria to offer milk, because calcium is vital to a growing body, and healthier, yet more costly, whole-wheat products rather than more processed grains (such as white bread).

One student brought up a rumor concerning the proliferation of “red dye”(scientifically called Allura Red AC, a food coloring dye) in school-distributed lunches, but Moppert denied its presence in school lunches, due to federal regulations.

Accompanying Moppert was intern nutritionist Amanda Almeida as well as Rose Bryant, cafeteria manager for both Pompano Beach and Blanche Ely high schools, to help her with answering questions on the process of producing school lunch. The question-and-answer between lasted an entire class period.

Moppert encouraged students with questions to email her directly  at darlene.moppert@browardschools.com, or alternatively, email her boss, Mary Mulder, at mary.mulder@browardschools.com.

See an article in the Hollywood Gazette about middle school students test-tasting menu items at the Pompano Beach High cafeteria.

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