East Texas schools aren't opting out of federal meals program

Pine Tree ISD is sticking with the program due to it's high percentage of student participants in the free and reduced meal program.

LONGVIEW, Texas—Area school officials say economic concerns — and changing taste buds of students — are reasons they have no plans to opt out of federal healthier meal standards.

A recent Republican plan in Congress would allow some school districts to bypass the federal guidelines. It was proposed after schools complained of restrictive and costly meal plans under the standards implemented two years ago.

Also spurring the debate is a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health that said 60 percent of vegetables and 40 percent of fruit on school lunch trays are being thrown in the trash, though the study emphasized it’s not an increase since students have always discarded that high of a percentage of fruits and vegetables.

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Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

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In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

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After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

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After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

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