BRISTOL – Unusual smells and delivery problems have led the Bristol Board of Finance Purchasing Committee to debar Guida-Seibert Dairy of New Britain from further delivery contracts with Bristol Public Schools.
This debarment is an action that will keep Guida from bidding on such school contracts for two years. The action is the direct result of issues surrounding milk deliveries, among those including reports of unusual smells around milk products and a screw found piercing a milk carton. The Purchasing Committee held a debarment hearing Tuesday in accordance with city policy, just before the Bristol Board of Finance meeting.
According to City Purchasing Agent Roger Rousseau, smells discovered around cartons were presumed to be that of spoiled milk.
Committee Chair Ron Burns said Bristol Public Schools had been having issues with dairy product deliveries between November of last year up to January of this year.
“Some of them have to do with not receiving what they had expected to receive. Twenty-two units of chocolate milk instead of 22 cases of chocolate milk. Doors left open by the delivery man. When asked to close it, then having some words with management. I believe it was at Chippens Hill (Middle School),” said Burns.
Burns said the school district’s food service department had been in contact with the dairy products company continually and was unable to reach a resolution surrounding its concerns.
“I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back was when they received a carton of milk and there was a sheet (rock) screw in the side of the carton,” said Burns.
Guida was able to speak their position during the meeting, said Burns, but in the end the committee decided to enact the city’s debarment procedures. The board of finance passed a motion accepting the committee’s report and actions.
“There is already a plan in place for another vendor to come on board and service the board of education,” said Burns.
Rousseau said because the Bristol Public Schools Board of Education has certain agreements with the city, the city’s purchasing department does buy resources for the district. The Purchasing Committee acted in accordance with the board’s wishes by enacting debarment procedures.
“The contractor did use sheet rock screws to make sure that there was no shifting between the crates,” said Rousseau when asked how an object may have pierced a carton. “He secured them together with sheet rock screws, and, separating the crates, the screws were still in place and pointing into the middle of the crate, causing a hazard.”
The new dairy delivery vendor is anticipated to begin its deliveries “within days,” said Rousseau. As of Wednesday Guida products are still available to be delivered in schools until the new vendor takes over.
The Guida-Sebert Dairy contract was worth $250,000 annually for 300,000 units of milk, 500,000 of chocolate milk and 140,000 of strawberry milk.
Guida-Seibert Dairy did not immediately respond for comment when contacted. Bristol Public Schools did not have information readily available pertaining to the issue when asked.
Efforts to reach the Consolidated School District of New Britain to ask whether Guida products were used in New Britain schools were unsuccessful.