HFCS Challenge #2: What’s in that cookie?

As a part of my experiment avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup for thirty days, I decided to find out what foods in the cafeteria contain it. I started simply by asking about the large cookies that are displayed at the registers.

I started this inquiry in order to write an article for the newspaper, but I am not the only person who might be interested in finding out information like this. If someone had a food allergy they would want to know if the cafeteria has foods with that allergen. Vegetarians would want to know if foods like the french fries were cooked with animal byproducts. There are many different reasons why someone would want to know what goes into the foods served at the cafeteria, but ultimately it comes down to how quickly people can get this information.

It took me two weeks to find out if the cafeteria cookies had HFCS.
My first inquiry went through Lynne Olsen, a lunch worker who told me she would contact Dawn Ives, the Foods Service Manager. Olsen did talk with Ives, but I did not get the information until Olsen cut it out from a box for me herself.

What I did not know was that I was supposed to contact Ives through her email. I later learned this when I sat down with her for an interview. During the interview, Ives told me that Quest, the cafeteria’s foods service provider, is willing to work with anyone who has questions about any of the food supplied and makes it definitely accessible. Those concerned only need to ask.

If I was the health conscious person who was concerned about the food I eat in the cafeteria, I would want my questions answered right away. But, with the current system I would have to find out who can get me the information, set up an interview with that person, email them, or wait for two weeks. Getting this important information should not take this long.

In order to solve these issues, I propose that the cafeteria make the process more public. Signs could be posted to inform the students and staff of how to contact Ives. Food labels could also be put on the packaging of items that do not already have them, such as cookies.
These minor changes would help to inform the public more efficiently and they might make people think more about what they are choosing to eat.