School Official: Place Box at Cafeteria Exits to Collect Healthy Food Students Won’t Eat

By Susan Jones | October 15, 2012 | 11:11 AM EDT

First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined children in the lunch line at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. (Photo: USDA/Bob Nichols)

( - The government's new school lunch rules mean more wasted food, critics say.

One school board official in New Hampshire is suggesting that schools set up a collection box at cafeteria exits, where students can deposit all the uneaten apples, oranges and other "healthy" foods they don't want to eat -- or maybe don't have time to eat during their 20 minutes in the school cafeteria.

"Part of the mandate is that students have three (healthy food) components on their tray to leave the lunch line,” the New Hampshire Union Leader quoted Manchester School Committee member John Avard as saying.

“A lot have to grab an apple or fruit that’s available that day. On the way out the door, the apple goes into the trash can.

“We’re throwing away apples and oranges and other wholesome food that could be going to someone who needs it,” Avard said. “We can’t eliminate it, but we can change what they do with it on the way out — maybe have share-tables or a collection box that goes to (a charitable) organization.”

The newspaper also quoted Avard as saying that some students are foregoing a hot lunch "because it won't fill them  up."  They're choosing snack foods instead.

The Union Leader said Avard has seen the situation first-hand, sitting through lunches in middle and high school cafeterias.