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Primary School Girl Told To Stop Photographing and Blogging School Meals

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the food-for-thought dept.

United Kingdom 472

JamieKitson writes "British primary school (elementary to those of you in the U.S.) pupil Martha/'Veg' has been taking photographs of her school dinners and writing about them at her blog Never Seconds since April. The blog has become popular, and Martha decided to do something with the popularity: namely, raising money for an international school dinners charity. Unfortunately, the local council, Argyll and Bute, having apparently not heard of the Streisand effect, didn't like the publicity that her blog was generating and have shut her down. They said the blog made the catering staff fear for their jobs. There is a happy ending though: donations have gone through the roof and she has already passed her target."

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U turn (5, Informative)

shortscruffydave (638529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333875)

Just heard an interview with the council on BBC Radio 4, and it sounds like they've reversed the decision.

Re:U turn (-1, Offtopic)

shortscruffydave (638529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333893)

BTW....first post! woot!! etc....

Re:U turn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334119)

Your penis, it's so tiny!

Re:U turn (-1, Offtopic)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334347)

Somebody mod this up.

Re:U turn (0)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334473)

BTW....first post! woot!! etc...

Well you should have thought of that earlier, now it doesn't count anymore.

Re:U turn (5, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333933)

That's good news. I wondered why they told this girl to stop in the first place because the food she photographed actually looks both healthy and tasty, so what was the problem?

Re:U turn (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40333991)

Sorry, you think this [bbcimg.co.uk] looks healthy and tasty? Uh huh...

Re:U turn (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334189)

They get fucking popsicles in the UK?! Christ, even way back when I was in school, decades ago, the best we could hope for was "nature's candy", raisins, which nobody ever, ever ate, and instead lobbed at each other across the lunch room.

Re:U turn (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334467)

They get fucking popsicles in the UK?! Christ, even way back when I was in school, decades ago, the best we could hope for was "nature's candy", raisins

You got raisins? When I was in school, "nature's candy" meant moose droppings. They'd just give us a dull knife and tell us to go out and kill something for lunch. And if you weren't fast enough to catch a squirrel or a vole, you starved to death. Once there was this kid who twisted his leg trying to catch a rabbit and we ended up tearing him to bits and eating him.

I'm telling you, we had it tough back in those days.

Re:U turn (2)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334453)

I see a recognizable vegatable on the plate. Given that, it is more healthy than anything I ever saw in my cafeteria in the good ole US...

Re:U turn (3, Funny)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334493)

I am more impressed by what appears to be actual metal flatware. That and it looks better than anything I ever got served in k-12 school.

Re:U turn (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334485)

Sorry, you think this [bbcimg.co.uk] looks healthy and tasty? Uh huh...

It does, to Americans.

Re:U turn (2)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334589)

It does, to Scots.

I never had a school meal when I was in primary school, but a few of my friends did. And being at one of the better Glasgow Schools, even back then (early 90s), it was pretty much the same, just without the veg. Also Semolina. They loved to serve Semolina for some disgusting reason.

Re:U turn (2)

GT66 (2574287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334509)

That looks like a breakfast meal. What's the problem with that? I thought the meals looks pretty good. A little sparse by American standards but then we're the most obese nation on earth so what the hell do we know. In the USA, ketchup and spaghetti sauce are a vegetable. Here you'll get a bag of potato chips a soft drink and industrial waste dressed up to look like meat. Put some ketchup on the meat and you've got your healthy veggie! The British kids have it good!

Re:U turn (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334537)

A metal knife! Sweet, I wasn't trusted with a metal knife for lunches until I got to college.

Re:U turn (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334001)

Exactly. I mean how is it so terrible that the cooks "fear for their job" of course they should fear for their job! Everyone "fears for their job" if they don't do well at their job. Perhaps incompetent IT guys should call up Oracle and tell them never to post any bug reports and sue any security blogs that post bug reports and security flaws, after all, if they installed an insecure program on a critical computer that can be exploited they'd fear for their job.

More transparency is always a good thing.

Re:U turn (5, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334297)

Well, I would probably be pretty pissed off if I was catching all the heat for the school district's poor meal choices. It's not like the lunchroom workers get to choose what the kids are served, they just prepare it. At least, that's how it is here in the US in my own experiences, maybe in the UK it's different and the individual schools have more autonomy?

Growing up in Philly, we ate what was called "satellite lunches", which were nothing more than prepackaged meals made by some private company. They literally served us a white box with "food" in it on a tray. Our school didn't even have a proper kitchen, just some ovens to heat them up. They were fucking nasty as shit, too...I bet prisoners ate better then we were. The fried chicken was especially gross, because we could smell it throughout the school in the period just before lunch, so as soon as someone caught a whiff and said "Aw, man, friend chicken again?" a collective groan went through the entire building.

I would have brown-bagged it but we were poor so I was on reduced lunch and thus forced to eat the crap by my mother.

Re:U turn (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334555)

That doesn't mean that this girl loses the right to blog about her meals.

Re:U turn (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334327)

Often the actual "staff" in the cafeteria have no control over how much money gets allocated to them or the mandates being forced on them like "use less empty calories and have more wholesome foods" or "encourage kids to develop healthy eating habits". In these days of budget cuts, I would not blame the kitchen staff alone for poor fare in school cafeteria.

Re:U turn (5, Interesting)

TarpaKungs (466496) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334121)

Some of it looks OK. Some of it looks utterly dire, even compared to what I was being forced to eat 35 years ago! It's not a patch on what my local school serves my kids (I've eaten 3 meals with them, paid for I should add!) and down in East Sussex, £2 consistently buys a good healthy and tasty meal. I was so impressed I actually emailed the catering company's Regional Manager (Chartwells who are contracted to provide our school dinners) and East Sussex CC (school meals division) and said I thought it was an apt time to praise there efforts - the email was received with some excitement judging by the reply I just got back :) It's very easy to criticise, sometimes the opportunity to praise is overlooked. Back on topic - full marks to Martha aka VEG - trended on Twitter worldwide today, 1000+ comments on the BBC News story, front page on BBC News and Independent news (web editions). And as someone said, it looks like Argyll and Bute Council have reversed their decision - probably because her MSP (Member of Scottish Parliament) who also happens to be the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning told them to! This sort of story warms my heart - thanks to the Internet, a minor coverup of a small time incident[1] that would have never made it past the local paper now becomes a national and international story. [1] This is a fairly minor event in the grand scheme of things, but is rather symptomatic of the "brush under the carpet" attitude of the authorities in the UK - hopefully this particular event will make other authorities sit up and listen.

Re:U turn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334583)

>It's not a patch on what my local school serves my kids (I've eaten 3 meals with them, paid for I should add!) and down in East Sussex, £2 consistently buys a good healthy and tasty meal.

I remember back in elementary school (20-25 years ago) they would have periodic "parents' day"/"grandparents' day" type things where people's parents or grandparents could come to school and eat lunch with them. The food was always markedly better on those days.

I'm not saying that your only experience with your kids' school lunch is on special days when they're expecting parents to show up, but it's always best to keep context in mind.

Re:U turn (3, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334145)

That's good news. I wondered why they told this girl to stop in the first place because the food she photographed actually looks both healthy and tasty, so what was the problem?

It's variable. Scroll through the May page from the bottom: http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/2012_05_01_archive.html [blogspot.co.uk] -- some is fine, some is pretty bad.

The council's response in the BBC article claims that there are often better options available. However, that a child can choose an awful option suggests there is still a problem (at least, it is if you think the school should only provide healthy food).

Re:U turn (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334281)

It was probably less about the actual content being shared, and more about the lack of editorial control they had over it. For better or worse, knowing everything you do is going to be posted for the public to see has a bit of a 'looking over your shoulder' effect on people since you never know what might go wrong, what could be taken out of context, or what could haunt you if people are unsympathetic to the tradeoffs involved in whatever it is you do.

Re:U turn (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334587)

So what.

1) We all deal with that in one form or another.

and 2) I don't see that the right to rebuttal was taken away, not even on the kid's own web site. Plus the council and school can actually issue press releases and have people take notice.

This was someone ruling over their petty school fiefdom, and that, unfortunately, isn't limited to the UK or the US.

Re:U turn (2)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333963)

It's incredible they even end there. I can't imagine a local councilmen getting re-elected after deciding that an incompetent cook's job is more important than children's nutrition.

Congrats on a relevant first post!

incompetent or poor ingredients / equipment / time (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334133)

incompetent or poor ingredients / equipment / time tables.

Maybe they are useing poor ingredients with under sized equipment with a time table does not let them put out grade A food.

Re:incompetent or poor ingredients / equipment / t (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334221)

which means that somebody needs to be fired.

1 cheap food can be healthy (unless somebody gets bribed)
2 needed equipment should always be on hand
3 then somebodies time management is BAD (or the allocation is off)

Re:incompetent or poor ingredients / equipment / t (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334305)

Yeah, but often the wrong people get in trouble. As the saying goes, praise travels up, blame travels down. I could see cooks (or their immediate superiors) getting public ire for things that are not really under their control.

Even funnier (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334007)

One of the links IN THE SUMMARY says that the ban has been lifted (on the BBC.) Perhaps it's been changed since the submission but before the story hit the front page.

Re:U turn (5, Informative)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334095)

It doesn't, by any means, excuse them from the original decision to force someone to take down their website.

Their back-pedalling now the case has publicity only shows how out-of-touch they are with the world. I'd love to know who was personally responsibly for this decision.

We're all used to national governments trying to get their greasy control-freak hands on our internet, but now councils are doing it! Stick to water supply, sewerage and rates - keep away from the internet. It's none of your business, and you don't understand it. Controlling the internet is controlling our speech.

UK numbers for the council:
Phone: 01546 602127
Text: 07624808798
Complaints: http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and-government/complaints [argyll-bute.gov.uk]

Re:U turn (5, Informative)

Blahah (1444607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334117)

That's not what happened at all. They didn't force her to take down her website, they just told her she couldn't bring her camera to school. Still a stupid move, but not the same as what you are alleging.

Re:U turn (1)

infolation (840436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334143)

Which nowadays effectively means she can't bring her phone into school. Try telling that to a British kid nowadays!

Re:U turn (3, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334373)

That wouldn't be a bad idea, actually. Despite what they think, kids not having a phone to dick around on during school won't hurt them.

Calling for roadside assistance (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334527)

Despite what they think, kids not having a phone to dick around on during school won't hurt them.

Say someone rides a bicycle to and from school. Without bringing a mobile phone to and from school, how do you expect her to call for help should she end up having a flat tire (or tyre, as the case may be) on the way there or on the way back?

Re:U turn (1)

GT66 (2574287) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334535)

Someone send that kid a spy cam.

Re:U turn (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334219)

Petty dictators.

Roger Waters' write accurate songs.

Re:U turn (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334421)

Yep, they reversed [telegraph.co.uk] the decision.

Re:U turn (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334519)

School Lunches, never were considered fine cuisine, and will always get Yuck! from kids.

1. School Lunches need to be affordable.
2. School Lunches need to be healthy
3. School Lunches need to be served and eaten fast
4. School Lunches need to be eaten.

If you make them too affordable and cheap, then you have unhealthy food that doesn't really taste that good so kids won't eat them.
If you make the food too healthy, they may be too expensive, also parents have spoiled their kids so they do not like healthy food, so they wont eat it, or they will be foods that require fork and spoon and will take too long to eat.
If you make too much fast food, It will be unhealty.
If you make foods the kids will eat, they may not be ultra healthy.

I am not sure why the Catering Staff will fear loosing their job, from a bad review from a kid, They often have little control, on what is on the menu, or even how to prepare it. They may fear loosing their job, if the blog shows the food is unsafe, such as under-cooked, or made unsanitary then that is a different issue.
 

Re:U turn (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334581)

So, the difference between doing a good job and a bad job and getting away with it is just that people hear about it?

If you do a good job, then you shouldn't worry about people knowing it.

all changed now (3, Informative)

SkunkPussy (85271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333879)

Apparently the Chief of the council was on radio 4 just now and he has reverted the ban live on air. It remains to be seen if this filters down correctly!

Free speech (2)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333883)

Is valid at all ages... how is that different from resto clitique?

Re:Free speech (2)

gagol (583737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333917)

I did not got the news about reverse decision, still how can things like that happens?

The pupil had a creative project involving writing and the school serioulsy decided to try and stop it. In my days it would have been highly applauded!

Re:Free speech (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334009)

That was not school who banned her but the council. The school supported it, but the council was embarrassed when it was revealed how crappy food the pupils are eating, so they tried to gag her.

Re:Free speech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334061)

That nine-year-old writes better than you. I wish your school had stopped your creative projects and taught you some basic grammar and writing skills.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334397)

It's the U.K. they don't have the same definitions of free speech as other countries do. Some forms of speech, like nativity scenes or religious education, might be allowed where they aren't in the US, while other things like criticizing someone are prohibited. But they have the Magna Carta, so there's that.

Re:Free speech (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334041)

There is a limit to free speech though. And apparently that bar has been lowered to shouting "Eww!" in a crowded cafeteria.

Re:Free speech (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334471)

no. embarrassing a petty member of the school bureaucracy.

Re:Free speech (5, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334127)

Not sure about the UK, but the U.S. courts have repeatedly upheld that students do not have free speech. The case Morse v. Frederick [wikipedia.org] comes to mind, otherwise known as the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case.

Long story short, the students were released from school early so they could watch the torch pass from the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Joseph Fredrick, a student at the school, along with friends, held up a banner they'd made earlier that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus". He was suspended for 5 days (later increased to the maximum 10 days after quoting Thomas Jefferson, which is hysterical), sued, and lost several times. School speech [wikipedia.org] can be regulated both on and off campus; Frederick was not technically in school at the time of his banner (as they'd been dismissed) and he was also standing across the street from the school, thus not technically on campus, but in view of those that were.

Then, of course, are the myriad cases cropping up over the last few years where student's Facebook posts are getting them suspended [mashable.com] Just a few months ago a 12-year-old girl was interrogated at length by the administration at her school, with police officers present (but not her parents, of course), and ultimately forced to give up her Facebook password [telegraph.co.uk] .

If this girl had been here in the U.S., she'd probably already be charged with some form of terrorism by DHS and thrown in a cell with murderers, rapists, and people that upload HD rips of hit movies to the internet.

Re:Free speech (3, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334303)

The Human Rights Act applies to everyone (not just adults, not just British people, not just in British territory) and includes the right to Freedom of Expression.

There are also extra Children's human rights http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/parentsrights/dg_4003313 [direct.gov.uk]

from 15 January 1992, when the treaty came into force, every child in the UK has been entitled to over 40 specific rights. These include:
* the right to have their views respected, and to have their best interests considered at all times

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334407)

"students do not have free speech" -- this isn't exactly true. The courts have held that students don't have as broad of free speech rights as adults, specifically limited to speech that causes, or may cause, disruption to the classroom and learning environment. So students DO have "free speech rights", just those rights have been curtailed when compared to "adult rights". If the statement was TRUE, then students would have NO speech rights at all, contrary to what the school speech wiki link details, students would NEVER prevail in court. But they do, because they DO maintain a fundamental right to freedom of speech.

Now, the devil is in the details. I believe that in the US, a case such as this would find the blogger prevailing as her actions (photographing her food in a public place and writing about it on her personal equipment) certainly could not be shown to cause a disruption in the educational process. That food workers fear for their jobs would certainly not constitute a disruption of the learning. There have been several high profile cases of students recording (video and audio) of teachers, none of which I am familiar with having been adjudicated against the student doing the recordings as long as the wiretapping/interception statues in the state were permissive. As long as the process ITSELF was not disruptive or disrupting to other students (in other words, they did it either discretely or invisibly). [And that--recording--is an actual case of 1st Amendment/4th Amendment mashup, not a straight out Free Speech issue.]

Re:Free speech (4, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334425)

If this girl had been here in the U.S., she'd probably already be charged with some form of terrorism by DHS and thrown in a cell with murderers, rapists, and people that upload HD rips of hit movies to the internet.

C'mon dude, you made a lot of good points, why did you have to spoil it with outrageous hyperbole? It's one of the most obvious rules of trying to prove a point - people judge your argument as a whole, so if you throw in a crapton of obvious nonsense, people don't take the good parts seriously.

Re:Free speech (0)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334523)

It's called sarcasm (or facetiousness, I suppose)...obviously I don't really think the girl would be picked up by DHS. Didn't the part grouping serious criminals with those uploading HD rips to the internet tip you off that it was a jocular statement?

Re:Free speech (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334131)

Do they have that in Europe? Not that stuff like this hasn't happened in the USA, it just usually generates an instant lawsuit when it does.

Re:Free speech (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334231)

ECHR, as implemented in the UK in the Human Rights Act. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1 [legislation.gov.uk]

Article 10 - Freedom of expression

1 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2 The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Toothless (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334565)

In that case, the government could just claim that any and all restrictions on speech "are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

Re:Free speech (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334273)

Free speech is a right throughout Europe. However this is a right that is considered to be balanced against other rights, such as the right not to be harassed, privacy, and anything else that may be considered a fundamental right.

But that's beside the point. Freedom of speech doesn't mean that all rules that may impact freedom of speech are invalid.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334251)

resto clitique

Am I the only one who has no idea what that means? An Ixquick search only came up with your post.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334395)

.. But think of the childr....

Oh wait.

When will they learn (2)

cmdr_klarg (629569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333885)

The more you try to hide something, the more attention it will attract.

Re:When will they learn (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333919)

Well yes and no. How much do we hear about people in prison in China for political "crimes".

Re:When will they learn (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334011)

You mean crimes like corruption, tax evasion and embezzlement? I wish some people in America would get charged with such "political crimes" but it will never happen...

Re:When will they learn (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334015)

Seems like we never stop hearing about it. You may be mistaking "hearing about" for "caring enough to do something about".

Re:When will they learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334017)

Well yes and no. How much do we care about people in prison in China for political "crimes".

FTFY

Re:When will they learn (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334031)

Quite a bit if you listen to Chinese dissident news.

However, given as I don't speak Chinese, know little about the geography and life in China I really don't listen to Chinese dissident news. It doesn't hit the "mainstream" because to be honest most people don't care about what is happening in China.

Re:When will they learn (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334021)

In cases like this, yes. All too often, oppressors of all kinds are successful. It's good to have cases like this to remind people that they actually can fight back and win, sometimes.

summary error... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40333925)

the blog didn't make catering staff fear for their jobs.

the press reaction in the UK has made catering staff fear for their jobs

Martha was blogging what she had for dinner NOT what the full menu was.

the press ommited this detail and pitchforks started being sharpened as it appears Martha wasn't picking the best of what was on offer (health wise)

all that said, i think it's a bloody shame the council have stopped given that the school actually encourages children to talk about their diet and this girl's only taken that training to the next logical conclusion of sharing with the internet.

Re:summary error... (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334277)

Nobody else reads the articles, why would you expect the person who wrote the summary to have read it??

did the 3rd party catering / food service push for (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333931)

did the 3rd party catering / food service push for this??

fear for their jobs may put at that or they are just poorly funded and take the heat for poor food that they don't have a lot of control over.

Re:did the 3rd party catering / food service push (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334003)

OK too lazy to look up that blog, but if the meal providers are afraid of their jobs, then I'd say that implies they know their food is of poor quality.

All they have to do is make their food decent. That is: reasonably healthy and balanced, reasonably fresh, and reasonably tasty. No need for five-star dinner quality, it's school dinners, but that also means you shouldn't serve them crap.

Re:did the 3rd party catering / food service push (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334049)

Exactly. I mean, it doesn't work in any other industry, why should it work in this case? If you do a poor job, expect to be fired.

Re:did the 3rd party catering / food service push (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334053)

You have to look at the articles as the summary doesn't say this. The food service feared for their jobs because of the press reaction to the bans and not because of the blog.

Re:did the 3rd party catering / food service push (2)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334157)

All they have to do is make their food decent. That is: reasonably healthy and balanced, reasonably fresh, and reasonably tasty. No need for five-star dinner quality, it's school dinners, but that also means you shouldn't serve them crap.

On this topic: the girl and her dad inquired the school about the type of chicken and sausages they serve, and apparently they are "safe to keep for up to three years". That says it about the quality of the food for me.

Re:did the 3rd party catering / food service push (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334349)

That doesn't sound promising.

Actually I had a look at the blog now, and the food on the photos on the first page of that blog looks pretty good. Varied, little deep-fried stuff, quite some fresh vegetables and fruits. Of course the looks don't say everything about overall quality and taste, they do usually go hand in hand, as in most low quality food also doesn't look good.

there is very little meat in these gym mats (5, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333941)

there is very little meat in these gym mats

Re:there is very little meat in these gym mats (2)

Slippery_Hank (2035136) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334241)

More testicles mean more iron!

Bad publicity? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40333959)

To be honest, all the British (and the foreign food) all looked fairly decent. Really the only terrible looking food was the "foreign" (being as she is from the UK) US meals. If anything it is a good showcase of what school lunches are from around the world and honestly I'd say it puts the British in more favorable light than the US.

The public have a fundamental right to see what their tax dollars (or pounds in this case) are doing, whether that is detailed information about Afghanistan and Iraq or school lunches.

Re:Bad publicity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334071)

I went to school in the US, and never once had a school meal look like that. Mine came in plastic trays and looked like colored goo. And I, well my parents, paid more than she did at current exchange rates! I'm envious!

Re:Bad publicity? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334549)

When I was in school there was no choice other than to decline an item. Through high school (11 schools, four states, overseas) meals were cooked from scratch by student's mothers and other locals or the mess cooks. Only "pre-made" food was the half-pints of milk and often bread. Menu was always meat, starch (potato, noodle, rice), veg and fruit. While not always the prettiest or "just like Mom makes" it was always good; or at least I was hungry enough to like it.

Re:Bad publicity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334291)

Compared to the UK school I went to where absolutely everything was cooked from frozen and choice was very limited that stuff looks great.

Yum (4, Informative)

zenyu (248067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334035)

The food she photographed looks pretty amazing compared with what I recall eating in primary school.

Re:Yum (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334081)

Yeah, it's ridiculously good looking.. I only wish I would have had a cameraphone back when I was in primary school - there were times when milk with frozen bits in it and potatos which were hollow(and if you were unlucky, green on the inside) were the norm - and I went to primary school in Finland of all places..

Re:Yum (3, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334249)

I was an Air Force brat, so we moved around a lot. In Hawaii it was pretty common to get spam and pineapple in some sort of green sauce. I'm going to assume the green sauce was dioxin. It was so disgusting that I still remember it clearly 30 years later.

I honestly don't remember the school food in Georgia, though I do remember bringing my own lunch and awful lot.

Upstate New York we had some choice. My favorite was actually a fried brown chicken puck sandwich. Except the week I got strep, then the fried bits were like swallowing broken glass (The subsequent visit to the school nurse was how I found out I had strep.)

I'm pretty sure even the spam-in-dioxin was still healthier than my college diet of ramen and pop tarts. The pop tarts were for vitamin C, you see, otherwise you get scurvy.

I wasn't the least bit surprised when the pink slime story came out a while back. In a few of the districts I attended, canned pet food would have been an appetizing improvement.

Re:Yum (2)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334155)

And it's not being made from surplus hamburger meat prepared from condemned cattle, as yours probably was.

Re:Yum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334253)

Therein lies the problem. This is Scotland we're talking about here, people. Where men are men and Sassenach greens will never pass my lips ...

Don't like the school lunches . . . ? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334039)

Pack and bring your own in a paper bag or a lunch box.

Re:Don't like the school lunches . . . ? (2)

InsaneMosquito (1067380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334259)

This isn't always an option. For example, this school in Chicago bans packed lunches because kids could bring something healthy. Who's to say more principals won't latch on to this line of thinking? http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-school-lunch-restrictions-041120110410,0,4567867.story [chicagotribune.com]

Summary mentions Streisand effect? (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334051)

Now I can't make my own snarky comment about it!

NeverSeconds (5, Interesting)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334067)

I think it's awesome she named her blog "NeverSeconds". I always remember being left hungry in middle/high school by the paltry lunches we got, to the point where I started bringing in my own every day. The worst was pizza day - you got the equivalent of one piece of pizza, a drink, and a "salad" (actually a couple pieces of lettuce and some shredded carrot). That was it. I guess it all worked out, because after the long lines, including many line-cutters, you only got about 10 minutes to eat anyhow.

My point is: school lunches suck! I fully support this girl in her efforts.

Hooray for pizza day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334135)

I miss pizza day... the best day of the week.

Re:Hooray for pizza day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334211)

I miss chicken fried steak day (Wednesdays IIRC)

Re:Hooray for pizza day (1)

gameboyhippo (827141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334541)

I miss lobster day. It always came with a side of caviar.

Links to blog and stories (5, Informative)

TarpaKungs (466496) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334183)

Luch Lady = Catering staff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334239)

Aparently it's appropriate to refer to those employed in school lunch production as Catering staff. If the drivel on the blog is typical fare of what they produce, then they (and their bosses) should be in fear of their jobs. Yes we'll hear the arguments (a la Food Inc) that there's only so much they can do for the discounted/subsidized price point they have to hit for school lunches, but at some point there has to be consideration of more nutritionally dense foods that will allow students to survive through the day than the food that kids want to eat.

frist psOt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334261)

Its corpse turned at death's ddoNr

Honestly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334323)

I'm from the U.S. and our school lunches were awful compared to this. The Finnish lunch on the second page looks great. And they get nice plates and bowls. We made due with paper and styrofoam plates with a burger or some spagetti. It's not like I had it so bad, at least I had food, but that the council took down the blog when food like this puts many American school to shame is pretty ridiculous. Of course, maybe kids that went to school in the upper-middle class suburbs got similar treatment. I wouldn't know...

Just wait until @GordonRamsay01 hear's about this! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334329)

This is the END? No, it's just the BEGINNING!

Pieces of hair (2)

nabob (445128) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334339)

Each review also contains an awesome "Pieces of Hair" tally.

I'll save you the effort: looks like the last sighting was May 15th.

Streisand in real time (2)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334547)

You can actually watch the Streisand effect happening in real time as the hit counter at the bottom of her page shoots up. Heading for 3 million pretty quickly :-)

Glad they reversed their position on this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334563)

I hate the press when they blow things up in to such a stupid case that people panic.
It is unfair that they took it out on her when it is the awful newspapers who blow simple things out of proportion.
There should be more of this, not less. Customer care is still applied when it comes to a kid in primary school.
Feedback on food is a very valuable thing indeed, it isn't like she went full-on "I HATE THIS MEAL YOU SHOULD BE FIRED" or something else like the news were implying.
They said something like "she never took pictures of all the things on offer", she never insulted the chefs either, she never said the meals were terrible, she BOUGHT the meals after all. She just gave some constructive criticism of the meals with a little humor.
If there is one good thing, she has had a very valuable lesson of how the world works. It is corrupt as high-hell. Hopefully this turns her in to a fighter and not a quitter. Very few people go on to challenge the norms of society.

Her meals actually don't look half bad, except a notable few that looked like it came from another dimension.
They certainly look better than the nonsense I suffered in primary school, which is why I resorted to packed lunches instead.
Nothing beats a nice cheese, gammon and lettuce sandwich, yogurt, pear or grapes and some light crisps with orange or blackcurrant drink.

Secondary School was different. The years I was there it got so much better, even eventually opening up a 2nd line exclusively for sandwiches, baguettes and other light meals like that. Both were pretty popular.
I still went to the libraries cafeteria though. Our school had a learning center open up in part of the 3rd building that was self-funded and, despite the school now being knocked down (4 buildings), that one still stands. The cafeteria there was nice, quiet and then we were also right around from the library.
The meals weren't like your bog-standard factory-produced crap, they actually made a considerable number of the meals, my mom being one of them who worked in there for 4 years with the team. That is for both the school and library cafeterias.
That school was such a good school. Every year it got better. Not just for me either, but in general such as scores, teaching methods and general atmosphere.
Then along came finances and DOWN IT GOES, all because a stupid pipe issue and little bit of asbestos in an almost-unused room of the main building
I guess that is what happens when you have too much quality, the expenses go through the roof... then all it takes is one wrong thing and axed.

Sad times these are indeed. Hopefully they get better for Martha as she ages too. If we get hit by another recession, it is going to be so much worse this time.

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