Oxnard Union ends Contract with food service contractor

School+lunch+remains+left+in+the+cafeteria+of+a+food+provider+that+won%27t+be+returning.

Photo by: Rhiannan Ruef

School lunch remains left in the cafeteria of a food provider that won't be returning.

The Oxnard Union High School District is terminating their contract with Sodexo America, the food services company currently supplying the district, and replacing the company with their own Food Services Department for the 2015-2016 school year.

The new Food Services Department is projected to cost an additional $210,000 in food and staffing, which will include a food services director and possibly a district chef.

“I think it’s very clear from the students, [and] from the other input that we received, the district has a food service problem,” said Mr. Gary Davis, OUHSD school board member.

The infamy of the current food services program has ranged from accounts of tainted food to mold exposure. During his freshman year, Cam High junior Trevor Jeffrey often went to the cafeteria for lunch; however, one Monday after Thanksgiving break, he went to have a chicken sandwich and supposedly saw something out of the ordinary. “[I] thought I saw something a little fuzzy,” he said. “I lifted up the cheese, and there was quite a lot of mold.”

This account of tainted food, and others like it, has translated to less people buying from the cafeteria. Meanwhile, reports such as these have led to the district’s decision to terminate the food services contract. Students who attended the board meeting reacted happily to the news.

“Now I know I’ll be eating food that doesn’t look like a sponge,” said Paul Zitron, sophomore at Pacifica High School.

According to Jeffrey and other students, the food was akin to television dinners. “[I would like to see] better food, something that tastes […] not like fake food like McDonald’s but like healthy, good-tasting food,” said Khyle Manuel, freshman at Cam High.

This recent change was also partly due to local group known as CAUSE, who has been championing the termination of the Sodexo-America contract and claim that the food coming from Sodexo-America was prepackaged, often uneatable, and unhealthy to consume.

While many students are clearly expecting change for the better, the results of the termination of the contract have still not been shown. The food in question has not yet been decided by the district, and with that, there is no way to know for sure what kind of food students will be eating until next school year.