Up to 40% of public schools in Puerto Rico this week did not receive an adequate supply of the fresh milk that students receive as part of their breakfast and lunch in school cafeterias, the Department of Education (DE) confirmed.
Confirming the lack of supplies of the student’s food tray staple, the agency denounced the Puerto Rico Dairy Industry Promotion Fund as of last week not tracking total shipments of fresh milk, even though it has; agreement between the parties.
“The Food Department has an agreement with the fund. Payments are up-to-date, but we have had several situations where the milk does not reach our canteens.” DE School Food Authority Director Francesca Reyes Benitez said in an interview. New day.
The director also admitted that since March there is a problem with the delivery of Chinese natural juice, which is the responsibility of the Agricultural Enterprises Development Authority (ADEA). “That Chinese juice was replaced by other juices, including fresh fruit and canned fruit,” he said. But the supply of juice has not reached all universities. Neither the Foundation nor ADEA responded to a request for comment on this matter.
The situation, which was denounced to this media by the school staff, worries both the teaching staff and the school canteens.
“I want to emphasize that for about three or four weeks, the children were not offered fresh milk, any kind of liquid, milk or juice for breakfast or lunch.” assured a teacher from the Arecibo Education District, who chose not to be named.
“They (students) prefer not to visit the dining hall because they don’t have liquid to wash their food. Some members of the school system sometimes bought water so that the children could drink fluids, but many days have passed. Condemned the teacher who claimed that staff at the school level were not told what was going on, despite questions and calls being made to seek answers.
Reyes Benitez said the fresh milk supply problem began last week, although he insisted that “we have spent several weeks looking at different options to get the milk our students need.”
According to the director, the Foundation’s excuse for education is that they have a “lack of production and personnel”, but Reyes Benitez claims that the agency insists that the Foundation guarantee “what they promised to offer”. by contract”.
This week the director emphasized. “They dropped the ball.” “We have several districts or municipal halls that did not receive fresh milk, whole municipalities. In practically all our educational marzes there are schools that did not receive milk.” Indian. Arecibo and Mayaguez are the regions most affected by the lack of fresh milk.
Reyes Benitez said kitchens should have a supply of UHT milk in their inventory to replace fresh milk if fresh milk is unavailable. But that inventory is only for three days. The principal stated that “if the problem spreads, if the cart stops delivering for a week, it will affect the school tray”, as it did.
Regarding the supply of natural Chinese juice, he noted that the supplier who produced the liquid in March did not produce it, so none of the 800 schools received the product. In light of the discrepancy, the School Food Service decided to remove the product from school trays for the remainder of the semester.
“Given the situation that that juice maker didn’t do that in March, we pulled that product from April and May until ADEA can assure us that it has access to juice for our students,” the principal said.