Foodservice advocates, legislators reach common ground on Child Nutrition Reauthorization

School foodservice directors won a qualified victory last week when lawmakers agreed to incorporate changes sought by FSDs and nutritionists in a bill reauthorizing the federal school-lunch program. 

The integrity of the bill remains, with a few adjustments to help relieve challenges to FSDs, according to the School Nutrition Association, a trade group that represents school-foodservice professionals.

Among the concessions was an easing of contentious whole grain regulations, with the requirement rewritten to mandate that 80 percent of grains offered by schools participating in the federal school lunch program be whole grain rich, down from 100 percent.

The compromise also included a two-year extension for Target 2 sodium limits. Now slated for July 1, 2019, the cap on salt levels will coincide with the launch of a study on sodium reduction and whether the new limits are realistic for food companies.

The agreement also addresses FSDs’ concerns about mandatory fruit and vegetable servings. The fruits or vegetables students are required to take are often thrown away rather than eaten, FSDs have complained. Under the agreement, the USDA will inform local governments of best practices for maintaining salad bars and sharing tables, a step toward encouraging students to eat what they are required to put on their trays.

In 2014, a federal snack rule limited what items schools participating in the federal subsidy program could serve in vending machines and a la carte stations. Lawmakers agreed last week to include language in the reauthorization bill to form a working group that would advice the USDA on allowable a la carte items.

The SNA worked with the USDA and senators on the agreement. “In the absence of increased funding, this agreement eases operational challenges and provides school meal programs critical flexibility to help them plan healthy school meals that appeal to students,” SNA President Jean Ronnei, SNS, said in a news release.

Legislators have delayed consideration of the bill, set to renew every five years, since September.

A markup of the compromise bill, when the language would be finalized, is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
fish tacos

From High Liner Foods.

Younger consumers are driving an increased focus on sustainability, and more consumers overall are demanding a wider variety of seafood on menus. With shifting interest in seafood, operators need to be familiar with the seafood consumer—who they are, what they’re looking for and when they eat it—to more effectively boost interest in seafood dishes.

Understand consumer habits

Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report finds that 65% of consumers eat seafood at least occasionally (once every 90 days or more), either as an...

Industry News & Opinion

The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

Industry News & Opinion

A study released by Sodexo indicates that gender-balanced management improves team performance.

The 2018 study is an expansion of a previous Sodexo study that launched in 2014. The expanded study analyzed 50,000 managers in all levels of management from 70 entities around the world over five years.

The study found that teams managed by 40% to 60% women had better employee and client retention, saw fewer workplace accidents and increased their operating margins and employee engagement.

Industry News & Opinion

Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

Split into teams of two, chefs had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their own entrees using a preselected basket of ingredients such as beans, mushrooms and orange sauce. Each dish was judged on its presentation, taste and creativity.

The winning dish was orange glazed pork with a black bean and wild mushroom cake topped...

FSD Resources