Is school cafeteria food unsafe?

At one time or another most students have had the chance to try the school cafeteria food. From peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to burgers, they’ve all stayed an option as students continue moving from elementary to middle school and now, at high school.

The food provided here at Marshfield High School is convenient, free and has many options. The lunch ladies spend a lot of time and effort preparing it. Sodexo, the company running it all here, labels their food nutritious, but how many options are actually healthy? For lunch they have salad, but other than that it’s pizza, nachos, hamburgers, and a variety of sandwiches. There are vegetables and fruits but they’re not labeled so students sometimes don’t know what they’re eating. 

Salads are known to be on the healthier side but many of the students have found off-putting things in them. 

“I have found uncooked chicken, frozen chicken, and moldy salad in my lunches,” said

freshman student Misty Fuell. 

Chicken has been an issue for other students too, and some have had to even go to the hospital because it– like one student who wishes to remain anonymous. 

“I’ve gotten salmonella from the chicken in the salads.” they said. 

Salads also have had their issues. 

“I found [other] food in my [salad],” said Cece Visser, a senior here at MHS. 

The lunch is not perfect, there’s good and bad aspects to the different foods. All things considered, the free lunch is something MHS is fortunate to have. 

Back when some of our Marshfield alumni teachers went here, like Casey McCord, there used to be a student café. 

          “The student café had pizza sticks, pizza pockets, cup of noodles and things like that,” said McCord

Regarding the school lunches there were less options but mainly the same, McCord mentions. 

“I think the cafeteria food is all very, very similar to what it was when I was in school in terms of the nachos, the pizza, the burgers. I don’t think they’ve changed a whole lot in the past twenty years,” he said.

Other teacher alumni who graduated earlier recalled less food options than that.  

For many students, the school’s cafeteria is their only choice, it’s either that or eating nothing at all. They might not have time or money to be having other meals for lunch, maybe they don’t have a car or the cash to go buy lunch off campus, like a lot of the students often do. For whatever reason it might be, numerous people rely on the meals and it’s the school’s duty to make sure that they always have that choice. 

The cafeteria serves breakfast and lunch every school day, usually starting breakfast at around 7:20. They also provide food for Destination students and for the Adult Transition Program. Tony Johnson, the kitchen lead/manager says her favorite meals for breakfast are oatmeal or the biscuit sandwiches with sausage, egg and cheese. For lunch she likes the salads and the amount of vegetables in them.