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Gateway grandfathers in old food if new storage policy is adopted

Dillon Carr
| Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

If the Gateway school board ends up adopting a policy reducing the amount of time food can be kept in storage, it won't require already purchased goods to be thrown out.

That amendment to the proposal, currently on 30-day public notice, will save the district from having to throw away tens of thousands of dollars worth of food once the policy is adopted, according to Food Director Martin Lorenzo.

The policy being considered would reduce the shelf life of frozen meats and dry goods from three years to one, and cheese from one year to six months.

During an early August study session, Lorenzo warned that he would have to throw a lot of food out if the policy is adopted.

Because he has the storage space, Lorenzo said he uses the U.S. Department of Agriculture's surplus commodity foods program to buy in bulk at low prices — from 50 to 100 percent less than wholesale — for roughly 15 to 20 percent of the district's food.

He would not be able to use the program and would be forced to buy smaller amounts at wholesale prices if the board reduces how long food can be stored before being thrown away, he said.

After a meeting last week, Lorenzo said he will have to adjust accordingly if the food policy is adopted.

“It's going to be more of a challenge, but we'll find a way,” he said.

Before voting, board member John Ritter – a strong opponent to the food policy revision – appealed to the public to weigh in on the matter by emailing or calling board members and administrators during the period the proposed policy is on public display.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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