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Salad Bars Vanish From Boston Schools

Mayor Vows To Revamp School Food Services
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WBZ-TV's Ken McLeod Ken MacLeod
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BOSTON (CBS) – Teaching kids about good nutrition is a life lesson, but in Boston Public Schools salad bars have vanished. The move is leaving a sour taste for many parents, as well as the mayor.

With First Lady Michelle Obama pushing healthy foods in school, half a dozen Boston schools were among those who bought into lunchroom salad bars in the battle against childhood obesity. A couple years later, none remain – to the chagrin of parents hoping to pry their kids away from junk food.

“My little one’s not in school yet, but I’d hope by the time he gets there that they’d have healthy options like salad,” said Boston mom Tara Hayes. “I’m a healthy eater and I try to promote that at home.”

The school salad bars were a pilot program scrapped amid cost overruns, sanitary concerns, and according to some, the simple truth that very few kids partook.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is not buying it, and isn’t happy that this healthy option has disappeared.

“There’s ways of creating a salad bar that kids and young people will eat,” the mayor told WBZ-TV.

For now, though, the school salad option is a pre-packaged bowl, hardly a study in popularity. Kids we asked said they don’t opt for the packaged salad because they don’t like what’s in it. They’d rather choose their own ingredients.

Mayor Walsh says the vanishing salad bar is just the tip of the iceburg (lettuce). He contends the food service at all Boston schools is in need of a complete overhaul.

“Should never have gotten to this point with the food service. We’re going to revamp the whole thing,” he said.

That frustrated assessment comes after the mayor met with the interim school superintendent last Friday, to mull over mismanagement at the food service, which is again on target to lose more than $3.5 million, just like last year.

Adding insult to injury at places like the Curley School in Jamaica Plain, is that the sale of less healthy snacks has crept back into the lunchroom, despite all that fanfare stirred-up by the First Lady.

“It just seems like constantly one thing after another with food program in Boston. Our kids deserve better than that and we’re going to make sure that happens,” Mayor Walsh said.

Clearly, the mayor has a lot on his plate as he campaigns to save the salad bar.

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