Calgary pizza chain takes over 9 school cafeterias

Despite concerns expressed by some parents, Calgary's public school board says the food from a local pizza chain that has taken over cafeteria operations in nine schools meets its new nutritional guidelines.

School board says food meets new healthy guidelines

Coco Brooks Pizza has taken over cafeteria operations at nine Calgary schools.

The Calgary Board of Education says the companies running the school cafeterias could not meet new guidelines that restrict foods with high levels of sugar, fat and salt. As a result, many school cafeterias had been closed.

Some students and parents are not pleased that a pizza company has landed the contract to operate the cafeterias. Crescent Heights High School student Ooroba Farim says it sends a mixed message.

"They’ve been promoting healthy food since junior high and then they open a pizza store; it’s weird."

Carmie Nearing, whose son is also a student at Crescent Heights, says the school’s cafeteria had been closed at the start of term and the students often ate lunch at local fast-food restaurants.

While she is pleased the cafeteria is open, she is concerned about the choice of a pizza chain to operate the facility.   

"These kids really need brain food and for me I don't think pizza is brain food," said Nearing.

Cathy Faber of the school board says the Coco Brooks-operated cafeterias offer salads, pasta, sandwiches and fruit in addition to pizzas. 

She says the reopening of the cafeterias keeps students in the schools and away from fast-food restaurants.

"We are seeing the trend reverse and that is exactly what we had hoped would happen."

According to Faber, the school board is working with the pizza company to modify some of its ingredients to ensure the food meets the board’s new guidelines on nutrition.

  • Click on the "Listen" button above to hear the CBC's David Gray talking to Cathy Faber of the Calgary Board of Education.