Fairfax Schools Students Reject All-Beef Burgers

They’ve been replaced with burgers that contain 26 ingredients.

By: Melissa Romero

In Fairfax County Public Schools’ cafeterias, the students are the customers. And their palates are not pleased.

As first reported by the Washington Post, this past September students in Fairfax County schools complained so much about the new all-beef burgers served at lunch that the county opted to switch back to burgers containing additives—25 of them, to be exact. 

Fairfax County began serving 100 percent beef patties in cafeterias in the spring of 2012, replacing an additive-laden burger that contained 27 ingredients. The move was praised by the groups like Real Food for Kids, which advocates for schools to stop serving highly processed foods with additives.

However, students grumbled about the strange look and taste of the all-beef patties. The schools’ food and nutrition services director Penny McConnell wrote to Real Food for Kids that the change was made “due to students’ poor acceptance of the [100 percent] burger. [ . . . ] Our students are our customers, and we listen to them and implement their requests if possible.”

The all-beef burgers have been replaced with a 26-ingredient burger from California-based Don Lee Farms, which previously sold the schools the 27-ingredient burger. The new burgers do not contain calcium pantothenate. They can be frozen for up to 12 months.

The move comes on the heels of Real Food for Kids’ initiative to remove regular soda from Fairfax County public schools’ vending machines. Currently, eight schools are involved in the program.