Tag: canteens

donated food for canteens to the poor – Italian Cuisine

donated food for canteens to the poor

Milano Catering has given over 3 tons of food, especially salad, grated Parmesan cheese, dairy products and eggs, to the Banco Alimentare Onlus Foundation and other organizations

Coronavirus emergency: schools remain closed. In the meantime, however, food destined for canteens, ready to be cooked for students, risks being wasted. So Milano Catering, the subsidiary of the Municipality of Milan, which prepares and distributes around 75,000 meals a day for pupils from all over the city every day, has chosen the most virtuous way to manage large quantities of advanced food: it has decided to donate over 3 tons of food, in particular salad, grated Parmesan cheese, dairy products and eggs, destined for the canteens of Milanese schools, the Banco Alimentare Onlus Foundation and other organizations that work for the collection and distribution of surplus food, including City Angels and Refettorio Ambrosiano.

«On Sunday, when school closure was decided, one of our concerns was avoid waste tons of fresh food that we could no longer distribute in the canteens , explained the president of Milan Catering Bernardo Notarangelo. "I thank the associations, the employees and all those who have contributed to achieving this objective so effectively". Banco Alimentare and the other organizations involved in the project will distribute food through their channels, supporting the fight against food waste.

Italy ranks 13th in Europe for food waste

In Italy on average we waste 65 kilos of food per capita every year: according to the Food Sustainability Index, in Europe, we rank 13th for the quantity of food that is lost just upstream of the agro-food chain and for waste during the transformation, distribution and consumption phases. But throwing food away also means wasting natural resources: the fruit and vegetables that are wasted every year to be produced required more than 73 million cubic meters of water. The same amount with which we could fill 80 Olympic swimming pools every day or meet the drinking water needs of all of Lombardy for 18 days, Lazio for 23 days, Campania for 27 and Puglia for 153.

Eat at school. Canteens: the 10 most common mistakes – Italian Cuisine

Eat at school. Canteens: the 10 most common mistakes

From the experience of Foodinsider, Claudia Paltrinieri analyzes the menus of school canteens in a book and reveals the lights and shadows of the meals offered to Italian children

Eat at school it is a book that was born from the experience of Foodinsider, or a group of parents who joined in 2015 to "transform the school canteen into a health tool for children and for the planet". They are those who actively participate in the so-called "canteen commissions", giving votes, proposing improvements, sometimes fighting to get them. On the other hand, school catering is a phenomenon with significant numbers, if we count that in Italy there are 380 million meals served in canteens every year.
In addition to being a founding member of Food Insider, Claudia Paltrinieri, author of the book, is the creator of the canteen rating, or a grid for judging the meals offered to children. In the book Eat at school has selected the experiences, skills and case histories collected in these five years of work. And there is no lack of critical issues on which parents must watch and, if necessary, intervene.

Protein share too high

An example: pasta with meat sauce, cooked ham and peas, three protein sources in the same meal. Added to this is a tendency to abound with red meats, which however Paltrinieri notes as it is gradually being reduced. Added to this is the use of preserved meats, or cured meats, which are recommended to be totally eliminated from the menus. Also because the same reasoning can be applied to cured meats that Paltrinieri does with regard to cheeses: it is not correct for canteens to offer meals that are not actually cooked internally, such as cold cuts and cheeses, which on the contrary can be save-dinners for parents often in trouble at the end of the day. Add to this the attention that Paltrinieri emphasizes towards "hidden" proteins that are often not counted in the balance of the menu, such as egg in the dough or parmesan on the pasta.

Improper combinations

Another common mistake, adds Paltrinieri, are the improper combinations, which end up unbalancing the children's diet. First course pasta and side potatoes, first course with pasta or rice and pizza or polenta as a second course: in this way children are weighed down with carbohydrates. Conversely, the reverse also occurs, perhaps with a first course of legumes combined with a second one based on eggs or cheese, which involves an excess of protein.

Poor variety of cereals and legumes

"Pasta and rice are dominant on menus with a 4 to 1 ratio." Apart from a few exceptions related to the territorial characteristics, the velvety, the past, the Roman dumplings, the dumplings are almost unknown in the canteens of Italian children. We find barley and spelled only in central Italy and the polenta practically stops in the north and does not exceed the Rubicone. As for the wholemeal versions of pasta and rice, despite being recommended by the WHO guidelines, in Italian canteens they are almost unknown.

Monotony in vegetables

Vegetables are often the weak link in the food chain for children. Yet little is done to make them appreciate, often offering them as unattractive side dishes, including salads, carrots or raw fennel. The result is that the pot ends up being discarded evenly. Already if they were offered as an appetizer, suggests Paltrinieri, it would be possible to take advantage of the pull of the hunger of the children. Or make them become a second course in an intelligent way, perhaps combined with the easiest potatoes, or in strudel, patties or other "smart" dishes for children.

Fish and eggs: too easy if packed

As far as the difficulties of managing large numbers and food safety can be understood, Paltrinieri stresses how often products already pasteurized are used to prepare eggs and fish is almost always breaded and frozen. The result is that children end up eating anything but homemade products and that the menus are too repetitive, with omelettes that make up the lion's share and fish that becomes hopelessly stick-shaped.

End of meal: no to sweets and fruit

That the fruit should be eaten is not in question, but the end of the meal is not the ideal time to offer it to children. Rather, its ideal location, suggests Paltrinieri, is the mid-morning snack. On the contrary, desserts should really be banned from schools, especially if we talk about snacks, puddings and fruit yogurt. Yes instead with white yogurt and, if you really want to gratify the children every now and then, Paltrinieri suggests desserts made internally with a low sugar content.

Underrated bread

"Too often," says the author, "the importance of bread quality is underestimated in the canteen." On the contrary, he adds, this should play a crucial role, since it constitutes a sort of "safe haven" for children that children can count on when they do not like the other proposals on the menu. We hardly speak of a short chain or we know the flours or we propose breads that are perhaps made with wholemeal and organic flours.

Condiments not disclosed

Even if it is not said that there are flaws in this sense in school canteens, the mistake is nevertheless not in informing families about the condiments used. A good quality extra virgin olive oil must be communicated, also to convey to the parents a sense of tranquility on the general quality of the raw materials used in the canteen.

Dried fruit, seeds and olives, these unknown

It is true that in the school catering guidelines, warns Paltrinieri, they are not present, yet it is the WHO that promotes these foods for a number of good reasons: «They educate children on new flavors, they are good for health and should be included in habits even at home . As the author suggests, they can be used as condiments for main courses, or as a "crunchy note" in salads and vegetables.

Organic on the rise, but not everywhere

The increase in attention to organic food is evident, yet a little leopard-like. In the canteens analyzed by Paltrinieri in 27% of cases the use of bio exceeds 70%, but in contrast 19% does not even reach 30%. What the author points out is that, in cities where there is an important organic presence, such as in Bologna, there has been an important intervention by the parents, who actively collaborated in the definition of the specifications.

School canteens: one in three is irregular – Italian Cuisine

School canteens: one in three is irregular

Expired and untraceable foods, dirty kitchens, rodent excrement, foods other than those provided for in the supply contracts: after the controls of the Nas, seven canteens were closed and two tons of food seized

Expired foods or lacking traceability and proven indications, kitchens in precarious sanitary conditions, mice and parasites, foods other than those provided for in the supply contracts. The first results of the monitoring of control conducted by the Carabinieri del Nas in Italian canteens, started at the beginning of the school year, at the request of the Ministry of Health, are disheartening: a kitchen in three, among those inspected (81 out of 224), presented irregularities.

Seven have been closed for "serious hygienic-structural situation". Two tons of food, including fish, meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, oil, bread, were seized because their origin was not traceable, they were stored in inadequate environments and often they were also expired.

In three months of checks, the carabinieri of the Nas have raised penalties for more than 576 thousand euros: 14 criminal violations and 95 administrative offenses against national and EU regulations were challenged. In all, they are fifteen people reported. Accused of fraud and defaults in public supplies, failure to comply with contractual obligations assumed by catering companies when they won tenders, holding food in bad condition and failing to apply safety measures in the workplace.

The Minister of Health, Giulia Grillo, speaks of «A horror movie: "Nightmares and nightmarish kitchens can not be tolerated. As a mother and minister it makes me indignant to think that on the tables of our children, at school, they can end up excrement, mold or foods of dubious origin. Today, those working in the canteen sector know that there are clear rules to follow and all the means to guarantee traceability and correct conservation of food. For this we can not allow the indifference of those who stipulate well-defined contracts and then makes the smart or worse. Even more so when the health of the little ones is at stake and vulnerable: children ".

Among the critical situations reported by the Nas, the closure of school activities in a large school complex in Rome, due to the widespread presence of weeds and rodent excrements, until the restoration of the minimum hygiene conditions. In Taranto, three directors and executives of a Vicenza catering company were reported, which managed the canteen service of schools in a Municipality of the province of Brindisi, for having given to the students meat of Polish origin instead of Italian, unlike the contract. In Lecce, the manager of a canteen service was denounced and the owner of a bakery, which supplied the catering company, because sandwiches for children contained insects.

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