Big brother in the cafeteria

March 3, 2006 in Food Companies, Manufacturing and Trends

Big brother in the cafeteria

In Houston, schools will soon adopt a cafeteria automation system that lets parents dictate and track what their kids are eating. Students make their selections in the cafeteria, and at the register, they punch in their code - connected to a prepaid account - which allows or denies the student their food choices. Such food restrictions are set by parents, and may include desserts and other forbidden items on the menu at their school.

The technology, Primero Food Service Solutions was developed by Houston-based Cybersoft Technologies, and it allows parents to set up prepaid lunch accounts so children don't have to carry money. It also shows the cashier any food allergies or diet restrictions for the student (set by parents), and denies the student the ability to purchase restricted items. Parents also have access to tracking their child's purchases online, and make changes. Parents can choose to allow the purchase of a treat once a week, or ban them altogether.

The system is already in place in Arizona, Oklahoma, Michigan and Tennessee, as well as other Texas cities. Several other companies have similar cafeteria monitoring programs at other schools.

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