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School cafeterias forced to make menu changes due to supply chain shortages 

Maria Cedillo
Posted at 6:13 AM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 12:44:53-04

Supply chain issues are impacting nearly everything lately, and that includes your child's school lunch. 

Child Nutrition Director for the Alhambra School District Brienne Ross says the district has had trouble getting certain food items since the start of the pandemic and challenges have continued into this school year. 

She says they're having to substitute at least one item for every order. Chicken tenders and chicken drumsticks, for example, are the most difficult to come by. 

"One of our chicken manufacturers also used to have a four- to six-week lead time and has shifted to a 12-15-week lead time," Ross said. "Beginning of October we actually placed our order with that manufacturer for February. We're having to plan really far in advance." 

Ross says if they can't get a menu item on time, they are having to make some last-minute changes and get creative. 

"We serve spaghetti and meatballs and some of our meatballs did not come in and not all of our sites received them so we had to kind of pivot and decide what other meat alternative or protein we can serve for those schools," she said. 

Despite the challenges, she says the district is doing everything it can to make sure students are still receiving a full, nutritious meal. She wants to thank parents for their patience and flexibility.

"Every challenge that comes up, the team can handle it. We just have to remain really flexible," she said.

The Peoria Unified School District and Mesa Public Schools have posted about similar problems on their district websites.

It's an issue currently impacting school cafeterias across the country.