- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2013

The butter police are on the job. New York City school kitchen managers said they’ve being targeted and “bullied” by bureaucrats who have threatened “disciplinary action” for buying butter, in violation of a five-year-old policy against using or offering the spread in cafeterias.

The policy prohibits school kitchens from cooking with it, or giving it to students for their bread. And a crackdown on violators has now gone into effect, The New York Daily News reported.

Here’s a recent email from one food manager to officials who oversee 25 schools, The Daily News reported: “Please explain why your managers are ordering BUTTER!!!” Attached to the email was a list of kitchen manager accused of ordering between $74 and $148 worth of butter, called the “Excess Butter Ordering Report.”

The food manager called for disciplinary action against the butter buyers.

“Every manager on this list has to get a disciplinary letter by close of business next week,” the email stated, The Daily News reported. “I also want a copy of every letter sent to my office.”

The note further threatens: “If there is a repetition of this incident or similar incident, further disciplinary action will be taken against you, which might lead to the termination of your employment with the Office of School Food,” The Daily News reported.

School kitchen workers were amazed at the new tone. They said that while butter had been quietly pushed from menus and cafeterias since 2008, the bully tactics have to go.

“We understand the need for healthy meals, but we do not appreciate the administration bullying our members,” said Greg Floyd, president of Local 237 Teamsters, which represents kitchen managers, told The Daily News.

Education officials, meanwhile, said butter has been a known no-no for years — as has whole milk and white bread. But it’s not officially banned.

“We’re not banning butter,” said a spokeswoman for the schools, Margie Feinberg in The Daily News report. “We just haven’t used it in our recipes since 2008.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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