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Study Would Search Through DISD Cafeteria Trash

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cafeteria lady 107264981 Study Would Search Through DISD Cafeteria Trash

Cafeteria workers prepare lunches for school children. (credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thursday school trustees will consider allowing three Dallas Independent School District (DISD) elementary schools to take part in a study on the contents of their cafeteria trash. Yes, that’s right.

The goal of the Plate Waste Collection Study, conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, is to find out which food items students are leaving on their trays and are subsequently going to waste.

According to Dora Rivas, the executive director of DISD Food & Child Nutrition Services, the district already tracks the information closely.

“I’ve been asking the question of our supervisors and they have not seen unusual amounts of fruits or vegetables going into the trash can,” she said.

While Rivas says waste is not a huge problem in the district, she admits that introducing new items to youngsters can be a challenge.

“We’ve always, even prior to this year, seen some waste and that happens when students are not familiar with a new food item,” she said.

Workers in the DISD said that generally once they convince a child to try something new or different the kids find that they like it.

“It takes a number of times for a student to be exposed to something they’re not familiar with, before they find it [to be] something that they are now comfortable eating.”

And in the DISD that “number of times” is on average 12.

Part of the AgriLife study would include snapping pictures of food selections and food thrown away. Items left on school cafeteria trays would be scraped, weighed, photographed and sent to researchers and clinicians for analysis.

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