Beverage rules push Gatorade out of cafeteria

Lesley Wright, Opinions Editor

As eighth-grader Julia Spychalsky peers into the glass-faced refrigerator at the end of the lunch line, she notices that not even one bottle of Gatorade is left on the shelf, leaving her with only two beverage options: milk or water.

“The beverage contract [with Pepsi Co.] is expired and a new one has not been approved yet,” cafeteria manager Lalani Wilson said.

Spychalsky isn’t happy.

“I think it’s dumb that there’s no Gatorade anymore because it helps you feel better, and that’s why they would give it to you when you went to the clinic,” she said.

The contract has not been renewed because of the new standards for middle-school students’ lunches, according to Wilson. Gatorade contains electrolytes that can speed up heart rates, which can be harmful to younger students.

“The beverage contract committee in the district is not allowing us to sell Gatorade because we have middle-school students on campus who the district is not allowing to have Gatorade,” Wilson said.

According to Dawn Menz, the Director of Food Services of Brevard County, the contract council is being restructured.

“The committee fell apart and they’re trying to form a new one which will consider future bids from companies,” Menz said.

Principal Rick Fleming added that the cause of the deduction of Gatorade is a result of the Brevard County district’s exclusive contract with Pepsi Co.

“Gatorade falls under the Pepsi Co., which is our chosen vendor that decides the list of products to be distributed to schools,” Fleming said. “But since we are dealing with a huge money figure with the beverage companies, we have to be careful in how we choose our vendor, to ensure that they are meeting FDA guidelines.”