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Food supply chain issues force Alabama school canteens to get creative


MONTGOMERY, Alabama (WIAT) – The challenges of nationwide food distribution are now having a direct impact on Alabama school canteens.

According to the Alabama State Department of Education, every school district has been affected by food shortages, affecting 687,000 students statewide.

“So it’s not necessarily a food shortage. This is a supply chain disruption in which the drivers who would be responsible for getting food to one location or another may or may not be available, ”said Michael Sibley, director of communications at ALSDE.

To help schools, the USDA granted Alabama a waiver to allow directors of infant nutrition to modify what they might normally serve.

“This flexibility includes the ability to prepare a school lunch that may not look like the school’s website,” Sibley said.

Sonja Anthony, director of infant nutrition for Jefferson County Schools, said the meals weren’t always the best designed, but the students were always fed.

“We haven’t had any instances other than where we maybe misplaced something with an item that wasn’t as appealing. It was a day when we had grilled cheese and turnip greens, ”said Anthony.

Sibley said the problem of shortages appears to be easing, but there are still concerns.

The USDA has also given states more money to help pay for increased food supply costs.