Nutrition Services

Enfield Nutrition Services  

1010 Enfield Street

Enfield CT 06082

860-253-6511

Nutrition Services Updated   Information for
School Year 2021-22   

Important Information from Harrisburg Dairy in Regards to the Strawberry Milk Issue at Enfield High School                                                    

January 18, 2022
To Whom It May Concern,
    On behalf of our entire organization, I’d like to apologize for the experience and inconvenience that you’re dealing with related to the congealed flavored milks that were recently produced at our facility. We take great pride in the number of students that are served our product and take seriously any bad experience that may prevent them from continuing to enjoy milk as they grow older. While the examples you found are not a food safety or health risk of any kind, they are nonetheless very unpleasant.
    Specifically, that milk is described as “over-stabilized” by our Cocoa and Strawberry Supplier, Forbes Chocolate.  Forbes has been our exclusive supplier of all of our Flavored Dairy Ingredients for many, many years.  They produce proprietary blends for our company’s flavored milks that have been our flagship/signature products for decades. That blend is a combination of Cocoa or Strawberry powder, vanilla and certain stabilizing ingredients, including corn starch, to give the final product more body, richness and an improved mouth feel.  Additionally, the stabilizer “binds” the flavoring to the milk during pasteurization, preventing the powder from “falling out” or settling to the bottom of the carton or container after it is made. 
    For any particular unit to be over-stabilized, that means that it has a higher concentration of the flavor powder blend/stabilizers than the formula or recipe calls for.  That can occur in a handful of different ways throughout the production process, as can under-stabilizing.  Under-stabilized product will be lighter in color, flavor and thickness while also having the powder settle down to the bottom of the container.  Over-stabilized product will be darker, richer and have a thicker consistency more similar to a milkshake directly after production. In some cases, like yours, over-stabilized product will continue to thicken or “set up” as it sits in a container to a congealed consistency. 
    Unfortunately, your examples have not been the only units that we have found to have this issue in recent months. Relative to our overall volume in flavored school milk, the examples are extremely rare. However, that certainly doesn’t make it any less important of an issue to solve and correct. As such, Forbes did dispatch their Quality Control Team to our facility to help investigate and advise. One of the findings was that we were, on occasion, adding more powder than was called for to avoid having partial bags leftover in our dry warehouse after production.  Forbes has offered to adjust our packaging size of the powder bags to help us address that in the future.
    While our processes, procedures, personnel and equipment have not changed at any point that coincides with these examples, there were some takeaways and recommendations that came away from their visit in the fall of 2021.  Forbes documented and also participated in some retraining with our production team the Best Practices for batching, blending and agitating our flavored milks to assist with additional training and our Quality Control Systems.  While there were not any significant or serious findings, there was still some small opportunities to make improvements to our processes to improve consistency.  Considering that this issue has sporadically reoccurred in the weeks and months since their visit, we’ve arranged to bring Forbes back in again for a deeper dive into how any of our products, no matter how few, are still experiencing this issue.
    Lastly, and what we feel is a major contributor to this new issue arising in a very established and unchanged process, is our joint effort with Forbes to transition all of our flavor blends to a non-GE/GMO ingredient package. Specifically, the corn starch stabilizer.  We had a Jan 1, 2022 deadline for labeling to achieve, and the process was recently completed to replace the current GE corn starch in our flavor blends with a non-GE alternative.  While we have the utmost confidence in Forbes to execute this project while maintaining the quality that we’ve come to expect from them for decades, it stands to reason that there may be a slight variance in how the different corn starches perform in each application they use it in.
    With the feedback and examples that Forbes has collected from us in recent weeks in addition to the time they spent observing and tweaking our formulas and processes, they remain confident that this issue will be resolved quickly and that we will return to the consistent, rich and delicious flavored milks that we’ve built our reputation on since 1931.
    I appreciate and welcome any additional questions or concerns that may ever arise in the future.
Thank you!

Alec J. Dewey, President

Harrisburg Dairies, Inc.




SUPPY CHAIN ISSUES AFFECTING SCHOOL MENUS
  
Please be aware that we are experiencing supply chain issues resulting in food and paper order deliveries delayed up to two weeks. The vendors aren't getting their orders which results in us being shorted even after waiting weeks for our delivery. So we have had to become very creative in dealing with food and paper shortages. Unfortunately since we do not know what we will be shorted until it arrives, we will have to make last minute changes to the current days menu. At this point we are still able to offer a choice of lunches but there may be a time, very shortly, that choices will become very limited. Supply chain issues compounded with the dramatic increase in participation are creating an extremely challenging time right now. Please understand we have no control over this and the entire foodservice staff is working harder than ever to have something for everyone to eat. We appreciate everyone's patience and understanding
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FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FOR IN-PERSON LEARNING STUDENTS  

Dear Enfield Public Schools Families,

Due to a  waiver available from the USDA, beginning Tuesday, September 7th, all children attending school are eligible to receive a free breakfast and lunch through the National School Meals Program. This will apply only to children who attend school for in-person learning. There will be no meal pickup to take home like there was last year. This free meal program is available because of the Covid-19 pandemic and is federally funded until the end of the current school year in June 2022.

In person students will receive full meals the same as they did last year, but at no charge. There is still a charge for “milk only” purchases at the elementary schools or if students at the Middle and High school purchase “milk only or a la carte” items. For information on paying for A la Carte items, see Prices and Payments of Lunches tab.

Meal Status Information:
Please note, this is not a change to your current meal status. Your meal status from last year will be carried over for the first 30 days of the new school year. While all meals will be at no charge, you will still need to complete an application for this school year to be eligible for other  benefits associated with a Free or Reduced meal status – reduced student sport fees, ERfC child care programs discounts, cable internet discounts, etc.

Applications and Direct Certification Information:

An application is available here on this website. It can printed off and completed and returned to our office at 1010 Enfield Street. We will also be emailing applications to families who are not on the Direct Certification list. This list is provided to us from the State of CT. If your students name is on the list, you do not have to fill out an application. The State of CT has not sent out the list yet for this school year. You will be notified by an email or a mailed letter once we get the list if this applies to your student.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT THE COVID WAIVER FREE MEALS AVAILABLE AT ALL SCHOOLS

Q.  Do I need to do anything to get the free meals like complete a waiver or let Nutrition Services know I want them?

         A.  No, you do not need to do anything. A full reimbursable breakfast and                         lunch meal is FREE to all Students.

At the elementary level, your child orders a breakfast or lunch with the teacher just like before. The meal will be rung onto the students account, at no charge. There is a charge if they want “milk only” because they brought a meal from home as the waiver only applies to full meals.

At JFK and EHS, the student goes thru the lunch line and selects the full meal (which includes choice of 3 to 5 different items with one being a fruit or vegetable) and is rung up at no charge. If the student wants something a la carte for example , like just a pizza slice, just a milk or water or ice cream or cookie, then the student will need to pay at the cashier with money or use monies on their account.

 

Q.  I have money on my students account, what happens to that money since meals are free?

A.  Money on accounts can be used for a la cart purchases. All money on student accounts stays with the student from year to year, it follows them to their next grade level and school. When a student moves out of district or graduates, any money left on the students account can be transferred to a sibling in the school system or refunded. Contact Nutrition Services to arrange for a transfer or a refund of money on student accounts.

Q.  I am set up for auto payments to my students’ lunch account. They do not need any more money on their account, what do I do?

              A. Go into your MySchoolBucks.com account and turn off AutoPay if you have it scheduled.

Q.  Does this mean my students now have a FREE meal status that makes me eligible for reduced fees?

A. No, this is a waiver so that Nutrition Services can claim all the meals served at the FREE rate of reimbursement. A student’s meal status is determined by filling out a Free/Reduced Meal Application OR is receiving SNAP or other qualifying benefits so that the students name is listed on the Direct Certification list we receive from the State Dept. of Education.  

Q. I do not need to receive free meals, can I pay for meals instead?

A. Since this is a district wide waiver, it applies to all students who chose a reimbursable meal. It is funded by a Federal grant, there is no cost for the district.




Covid Related Changes:

As you are aware, due to the current circumstances many things have changed in our department. The modified menus can be found under Monthly Lunch Menus. Applications for Free & Reduced price meals are being
sent electronically to families with email addresses on
file and will be available at schools, at Central Office or to print off this website for those who don't.  


Thank you for your understanding of these changes and we look forward to returning to "normal" whenever that may be!
If there is anything we haven't addressed that you still have questions about please call us at 860-253-6511.


SENIOR REFUND INFORMATION:
Important Information concerning Graduated Senior Students or students who have withdrawn with balances left on their account.
Please contact our office to arrange for a refund for any SENIOR or withdrawn students who have monies left on their account. All other students monies will automatically transfer to their new assigned school. Please call 860-253-6511 and please leave a message if there is no answer. We will return your call as soon as possible.
Thank you,

Nutrition Services Department