That’s the way the Cookie Corner crumbles

The+cookie+corner%2C+as+seen+in+Madison+Wiernusz%27s+article+in+September+of+2014.

Madison Wiernusz

The cookie corner, as seen in Madison Wiernusz’s article in September of 2014.

Madison Wiernusz, Staff Writer

TOWAMENCIN – To a North Penn student, for many years, there was no better snack to eat at lunch than a soft, freshly baked cookie from the Cookie Corner. Eating one of those famous cookies could easily make a student’s day better.

Since these cookies were popular amongst the student body, it definitely came as a shock this school year when they were no longer an option in the cafeteria.

“It was pretty much the only thing I looked forward to throughout the day,” said Colin Wilhelm, a Cookie Corner lover and eleventh grader at North Penn High School.

Many students at North Penn think of the elimination of the Cookie Corner as an act of injustice against them. However, it is not an act of injustice, but rather it is the effect of new school dietary guidelines set by the federal government.

“Because we get government funding, they have the ability to change the guidelines so that they are aimed at reducing childhood obesity,” said Mrs. Pamela Gallagher, the coordinator of Food and Nutrition Services in the North Penn School District. Gallagher has been working in the food service industries for 25 years, including four years in North Penn.

She said that over the years the guidelines have changed dramatically. All snacks now have to be made with whole grains, plus they have to meet a certain calorie requirement. The cafeteria was going to stick with the original brand of cookies, J and J, but the whole grain cookies ended up being unacceptable in appearance and taste. So, as a result, Food Services made the switch to a new brand of cookies, Otis Spunkmeyer.

Gallagher said that the whole cafeteria staff realized that the changes were going to be difficult to overcome. They knew that this was going to cause a decrease in customer sales and a decline in customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do about the multiple changes.

The loss of the infamous cookies meant the loss of the Cookie Corner. In its place there is now a line that specifically serves pizza and snacks. Since the pizza lines were moved out of the main serving area, two lines now serve French Fries, with different toppings every day, as a meal.

“I don’t really get it,” said Erin Freitas a junior at North Penn High School, “it doesn’t add up to me with all the whole wheat options and then fries.”

Adding these French Fries as a meal was actually a North Penn loophole to the changes made in the guidelines that are the same for meals and cookies. Since it is a meal it allows for the cafeteria to be more flexible and creative with their choosing, so the French Fries were able to be passed off as a vegetable.

“We were hoping that the students would be more attracted to the fries as a base for a meal,” said Gallagher “We felt that the students would enjoy it a lot.”

These new dietary guidelines took a big toll on the North Penn cafeteria, but it is not alone because other schools were affected as well. Every school across the United States that gets government funding follows these same guidelines, whether it is an elementary, middle, or high school.

The changes may not stay the same forever though, according to Gallagher. In the future, the schools may end up asking the federal government to ease up on the regulations because they are very difficult to follow and are hurting the overall concessions sales.