Don’t Let a Bad Apple Ruin Your Lunch

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Marcus Keys

What's worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding HALF a worm.

It’s like a scene from a high-school horror movie: Like any normal school lunch period, you’re lounging at your habitual cafeteria table discussing that long-awaited weekend–when suddenly, your day takes a turn for the worse! Biting into your school lunch-provided apple, like the good little fruit-eating young person you are, an unexpected mouthful of rotten decay sloshes between your teeth. It tastes like death, with a hint of applesauce, and the remaining, uneaten portion of the vile garbage smiles up at you from the moist front-row seat of your now dripping and forever-contaminated palm. You spit out the spoiled snack and toss the rest of it onto the tray with a shriek of despair…

Makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it? But this is not some cafeteria-food cliche; in just the IRHS journalism class alone, multiple reports of ‘bad apple’ findings have been brought up this year. If rotten apples are served from the cafeteria, what other frightening things might one discover on their lunch tray, and who is responsible?

The plunge into healthier meal choices is happening all over America (as we have previously reported here in Warrior Ink), so it is nothing too new that we’re seeing more veggies and fruits appear in our own school. While healthy food choices are fantastic in theory, however, a student is obviously not gaining any nutritional value from a rotten apple left uneaten on their tray.

According to an email response from Ann Easter, IRC School Lunch Director, the school’s produce supplier is Maine’s Paper and Produce, located in Watertown. Given the current year’s booming apple harvest success, it should be even easier than previous years for the company to obtain fresh apples.

Grocery stores coat apples in a protective wax to shine them up and keep them fresh longer, and while a waxed apple sounds unappealing, I’d rather eat that than something spoiled, but does our school supplier use this or a similar method to keep them from going bad? According to our cafeteria menu, apples are labeled “fresh,” but we have proven this statement wrong multiple times in this school year alone.

The solution is not to declare war against apples for life. My advice to you is to inspect any apple you eat before even placing it on your tray. Sometimes damage is hard to spot from the outside, though. If you do find a rotten surprise, take it back! Don’t just toss it away…or, at least send us a picture first.  You or your parents actually paid for your cafeteria food, and you deserve a fresh apple out of the whole ordeal in the least. The school will have to make some changes to fix this problem if more rotten apples are not only found but reported. While it shouldn’t be happening in the first place, our responsibility as students, as well as customers, is to report such problems so that they may be noted and prevented.