Health regulations limit food donated from schools - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Health regulations limit food donated from schools

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Food that was going to needy families last year is now being thrown away due to a new edict from the health department.

At Manna Cafe Ministries in Clarksville, the mission is feeding the hungry. They prepare food boxes for families.

"I've been accused of wanting to feed as many people as much as I can, so that takes a lot of food," said Kenny York, director of Manna Cafe Ministries.

Last year, Manna Cafe was able to pick up leftover breakfast items, including milk, muffins and breakfast sandwiches, from six different elementary schools in Clarksville.

"We've been told this year that we can't do that," York said.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System said it's because of health department rules about keeping cold foods at safe temperatures.

No one at the school is responsible for tracking how long items like milk and juice have been unrefrigerated. The food is all thrown away once it's offered to students who don't want it.

Last year, Manna Cafe provided many of the schools with their own refrigerators just for this purpose.

"I guess there's no one accountable to see that it goes into the refrigerators, is what the health inspector says," York said. "There's an issue. Who is going to be accountable for this?"

According to a recent letter, Montgomery County schools will eliminate hot items and will limit cold items from their breakfasts to avoid the temperature issue. Instead, they will serve items with a longer shelf life.

Metro schools also said it throws away any items, even sealed single-served bowls, once they are accepted by a student.

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