Would you eat this? Community at odds over 'burnt' free school lunch

The photo appears to show tomato pasta with some burnt noodles.
The photo appears to show tomato pasta with some burnt noodles. Photo credit: Facebook

The Government's free school lunch program may have been widely welcomed but it seems some Kiwis are less than impressed. 

The controversy began after a woman posted a picture of her niece's free lunch on a Palmerston North community page complaining the meal was burnt. 

"My niece's free lunch today. How was your kids lol (sic)," she captioned the post along with an unimpressed emoji. 

The photo appears to show tomato pasta with some burnt noodles. The woman said her niece brought the food home because she didn't want to waste it.

"They got burnt ass pasta and meatballs lol. Not always like that but she brought that home cause she wouldn't eat it but didn't want to waste it," she said with a laughing emoji. 

Social media users flocked to the comments with many saying their children had the same pasta at a different school and it wasn't burnt. 

"My daughter had this too, in Foxton. She's a pretty picky eater but she said it was real nice (sic)," one woman commented. 

"My three kids, niece and nephew loved this today," another person said. 

Most commenters said even if the meal wasn't perfect, it's better than nothing. 

"Free kai for the kids isn't always gunna suit everyone's tastes but it's better than an empty belly to learn on (sic). There will always be some who can't be pleased with the new initiative," one person said. 

"My kids enjoyed the hot lunch they got today, pretty awesome they get cooked meals during the day," another said. 

"Best lunch so far this year and it was free. Stop complaining and just tell your kids to eat it and be kind, as there are lots of kids that appreciate a free meal and need it. Stop being a PC parent and encourage your child to be thankful and grateful you don't have to worry about making lunches," one person said. 

The woman later clarified her comments saying people were being paid to make it, so it shouldn't be burnt. 

"[I] don't like to waste food myself haha. I've lived on less, but they are getting paid to do a job and if I were at a cafe I'd send that back. A third of my wages goes on taxes, that's what pays for it no? (sic)"

The Government provides free lunches to 25 percent of Aotearoa's schools with its Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme which focuses on the lowest decile schools across the country.

Ka Ora, Ka Ako allows schools and communities to decide whether to make their own lunches or outsource to an external supplier. It's unclear whether the school involved outsources its lunches or not. 

Ka Ora, Ka Ako has been contacted for comment.