Cafeteria kickbacks: unhealthy, unethical and pricey
How food-service providers bilk millions from taxpayers.
by Lucy Komisar
At the end of the 2006 school year, children's nutrition advocate Dorothy Brayley had a disturbing conversation with a local dairy representative. He had come to her office to discuss participation in the summer trade show of food providers she runs as director of Kids First Rhode Island.
At the time, the state's schools were buying 100,000 containers of milk each week. The salesman for Garelick Farms, New England's largest dairy, told Brayley that Sodexo - a food and facility management corporation that managed most of the state's school lunch programs - was paying Garelick more than competitors in order to get a bigger rebate.
State Education Department records, which are required to chart milk prices, showed that Sodexo passed on the price hike, billing schools 24 cents to 27 cents a half-pint, while milk was available from Aramark, a competing company, for 18 cents to 21 cents a half-pint - a loss to schools and families of more than $100,000 a year.
That's just a taste of the hundreds of millions of dollars of "rebates"- or kickbacks from suppliers - that Sodexo, a $20 billion-a-year global leader in the food and facility management industry, has taken while operating cafeterias and other facilities for schools, hospitals, universities, government agencies, the military and private companies across the country, according to evidence provided by whistleblowers and internal company documents...
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Cafeteria Kickbacks, by Lucy Komisar, The Komisar Scoop, March 2009
Posted: September 08, 2009
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