Healthy school food delayed by bid protest

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A proposal to bring fresh, healthy, locally produced food to San Francisco school kids ran into a roadblock when the losing bidder on the deal filed a protest, forcing the School Board to delay acton on the contract.

Revolution Foods of Oakland offered to supply fresh breakfast and lunch fare to the district, replacing the current vendor, Preferred Meal Systems, Inc., which ships in prepackaged, frozen entrees from Illinois.

According to SFUSD bid documents, Revolution's price was $59,356 a day, and Preferred came in at $61,416. So not only was the local alternative better, it was cheaper.

Gentle Blythe, SFUSD spokesperson, could only say that a bid challenge had been filed, but since Preferred was the only other qualified bidder, it's pretty clear what happened.

Once a bid challenge is filed, the district has to suspend board approval of the deal and respond to the challenge, which Blythe said should only take a week or so. "We'd like to have this back on the board agenda by the end of December," she said, so fresh meals can start with the spring semester.

So maybe it's only a minor setback; we can hope for the best.