CLEVELAND – An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation reveals millions of dollars worth of fresh fruits and vegetables are being thrown in the trash in school lunch rooms in Ohio and across the country.
The National School Nutrition Association blames new federal nutrition standards requiring students to take more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as increasing the amount of whole grains.
It’s operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and spends nearly $12 billion dollars a year and insists more students are eating fresh fruits and vegetables and the program is aimed at making students healthier.
The USDA points to a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health to support its claim, but the same study also shows that 60 percent of fresh vegetables and 40 percent of fresh fruit are being thrown away.
And a recent study released by the National School Nutrition Association found 81.2 percent of schools surveyed indicated an increase in the amount of food being thrown away by students since the new nutrition standards went into effect two years ago.
The association also points to a study performed by researches at Cornell University and Brigham Young University that suggests some $4 million a day is being wasted.
At the same time, schools are being required to serve even more at increased costs to schools.