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New York City schools take drastic measures against threat to life, health with butter ban

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New York City schools have taken aim against childhood obesity by banning soda machines, snacks and other empty calories. Butter, that yellow spreadable harbinger of fat and ill health has been exiled from cafeterias as far back as 2008. Some kitchen managers are protesting that they are tired of being bullied or face "disciplinary action" should they serve butter with school meals.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Butter has been effectively banned in New York City cafeterias, including as a condiment and an ingredient.

Butter has quietly been making its way out of city schools' cafeterias, including as a condiment and an ingredient. Butter can't be used for cooking or offered with bread.

There is a crackdown underway. "Please explain why your managers are ordering BUTTER!!!" a Brooklyn regional school food manager fumed in an email last week to officials overseeing 25 schools.

Included with the email was an attachment called "Excess Butter Ordering Report" that identified school kitchen managers who'd ordered between $74 and $148 worth of butter. "Every Manager on this list has to get a disciplinary letter by close of business next week Friday (5/10/13). I also want a copy of every letter sent to my office."

One kitchen manager received a note warning that "if there is a repetition of this incident or similar incident, further disciplinary action will be taken against you which might lead to the termination of your employment with the Office of School Food."

It came as a surprise to many younger or newer kitchen managers who say that this month's crackdown is the first they've heard of the butter ban.

"We understand the need for healthy meals, but we do not appreciate the administration bullying our members without giving them instructions on how to prepare meals," Greg Floyd, president of Local 237 Teamsters, which represents the kitchen manager's, says. "Our members are already working under stress and they don't need unnecessary harassment."

Also off school menus are whole milk and white bread. A schools spokeswoman denied that there's actually a "ban" in effect.

"We're not banning butter," spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said. "We just haven't used it in our recipes since 2008."

Schools are instructed to use healthy, low-fat salad oil instead of butter and to serve peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese with bread.

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