Nearly all Montana districts compliant with USDA's new meal pattern

Ninety-eight percent of district qualify for 6-cent reimbursement.

Aug. 22—Montana is one of only a handful of states to fully — or come close to fully — implement healthier guidelines in their school lunches, a new report from the USDA shows.

The report indicated that Montana is 98 percent compliant when it comes to providing more fruits and vegetables in lunch options for kids who choose to eat school meals, as well as other factors that were required to be implemented by the USDA in the last year. Only two states were fully compliant in the first year of the new program — Colorado and Florida — with just Montana, Oklahoma, North Carolina and South Carolina at least 98 percent compliant.

“It was a very busy year,” said Chris Emerson, school nutrition program director for the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

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Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

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Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

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“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

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