Supply chain issues impacting Tampa Bay area school cafeterias

Local News

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Supply chain issues continue across the country are being felt in the Tampa Bay area in local school cafeterias.

In Pinellas County Schools, the food and nutrition department is seeing a shortage of paper products due to these issues.

“For example, we typically use a styrofoam platter, that’s not available right now so we are going to a round plate,” said Director of Pinellas County Schools Food and Nutrition, Lynn Geist.

Right now, it’s not causing major issues, but the school district has had to make some adjustments.

“That’s where we are looking for secondary suppliers, thinking outside of the box for how can we present this, what do we have that we can present out sliced peaches in if that little cup doesn’t come in,” added Geist.

It’s not just Pinellas County Schools, Hillsborough County Public Schools is also feeling the impacts.

“We receive notifications on almost a daily basis of items that we’ve ordered but didn’t come into our distributor. We’ve experienced shortages in chicken products, pizza, fruits and most recently grains,” said a spokesperson for HCPS.

Other districts like Hernando and Polk counties are experiencing similar situations.

Right now, it is unclear how long these issues will go on, but Pinellas County Schools says they are planning as if it will continue through the rest of the school year.

“We haven’t had any total outages at all yet, but we are preparing for it though in case it happens,” said Geist.

But the districts do stress that it has not prevented them from serving the proper nutritious meals to students each day.

”Up to now we have not experienced a situation where we couldn’t serve the meal requirements, even though our menu doesn’t have the variety that the students are used to,” said the spokesperson for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

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