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NCSS approves contracts regarding school nutrition for next year

COVINGTON — The Newton County School System is preparing to feed its students in 2014-15, approving various contracts at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

Royal Food Service of Atlanta was selected as the vendor of choice for providing produce and fresh eggs, with the contract becoming effective on June 25 and ending June 24, 2015. Romaine lettuce, apples, oranges, onions, nectarines and peaches are just a few of the produce items that RFS will provide, according to NCSS food services director Jan Loomans. She went on to add that NCSS has done business with RFS in the past, having a contract with them in the 2006-07 school year.

The contract with RFS will cost the school system an estimated $365,000 annually. The Agricultural Marketing Service Market News provides the Atlanta Terminal Report for Fruits & Vegetables, which establishes the index cost on a weekly basis. Dexter’s Farm and Carden Foods Inc. submitted bids along with RFS, but after review, it was determined that RFS offered the lowest cost to the school system. Carden Foods was also disqualified from consideration due to past performance issues.

As far as bread and associated items, NCSS chose Earthgrains Baking Company of Decatur to provide bread as well as hamburger and hot dog buns for the upcoming school year. Through a recently enacted statewide contract, school systems and other agencies are able to aggregate their spending for better prices on bread and related bakery products from bread companies. NCSS will spend approximately $150,000 on this contract.

“Earthgrains has been our successful bidder for about 10 years,” said Loomans. “They responded very quickly for the need for whole grains.”

She added that the school system has not served white bread products in three years, and currently serves whole grain buns and bread. Recent studies have shown that white bread is not as healthy and nutritious as whole grain bread, due to the fact that a good portion of nutrients in white bread are bleached out.

Along with approving some new food contracts, NCSS approved the renewal of a few existing school nutrition contracts.

Originally awarded on June 20, 2011, a contract with Coca-Cola will provide assorted vegetable and fruit juice blends, zero calorie sports drinks, plain and flavored waters in addition to various types of fruit juices. This will cost NCSS $60,000.

The school system will also pay $705,000 to Mayfield Dairy Farms, LLC for the purchase of milk, renewing a contract that went into effect last year.

“Our students drink a lot of milk. It’s a good thing,” said Loomans.

Pricing is based on Class 1 raw milk prices, which are listed on monthly federal milk order announcements for the southeastern zone.

In addition to food, other contracts regarding school nutrition were renewed. For the third year in a row, PortionPac Chemical Corporation will supply NCSS with the chemicals used in the dishwashers, as well as a training program on OSHA compliant work practices, safe food handling following HACCP guidelines and regular compliance site-monitoring for employees — at an estimated cost of $40,823.

Southeastern Paper Group will provide paper and cleaning supplies to school nutrition staff at an estimated cost of $470,000. Originally awarded last year, the contract covers 65 different items including bowls, cups, food trays, pan liners, flatware, scouring pads, disposable gloves and assorted cleaning agents.