School lunch standards feed $10 billion controversy

The school lunch program was first started to help end childhood obesity and teach healthy eating habits, but is now pushing some children even further in the opposite direction.

WASHINGTON—The ferocity of first lady Michelle Obama's counterattack against a proposal to temporarily waive school lunch standards shows what's really at stake in Congress: a $10 billion effort to wean Americans off junk food, a campaign whose seeds were planted nearly two decades ago by Berkeley food crusader Alice Waters.

The waiver would give some schools a one-year reprieve on newly increased nutrition standards, passed by Congress in 2010 and championed by the first lady as a key part of her "Let's Move" campaign to end childhood obesity in a generation. The new standards require servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, more whole grains, and less sugar, trans fat and salt.

The rules have been under attack from Republicans since they were implemented in 2012, with Congress intervening last year to make pizza toppings count as a vegetable. In May, GOP lawmakers tucked the new waiver into an Agriculture Department spending bill, touching off a battle that has divided school food service directors across the country.

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Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

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whole grain pasta foodservice menu

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With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

Managing Your Business
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Summer is no idle time for foodservice directors working at colleges and universities: They’re planning for the futures of their programs. Operators in FoodService Director magazine’s 2016 College and University Census reported an average 16,000-plus students at their schools. During a recent summit FSD hosted with a dozen C&U operators, the people behind some of the nation’s top programs told us what’s keeping them up at night. (FSD is sharing their thoughts anonymously to allow their answers to remain as candid as possible.)

More mouths to feed, but not more resources

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Menu Development
cia menus of change

The Menus of Change initiative aims to do nothing less than change the way the world eats. A collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School, the program sets out broad principles and ambitious goals that require fundamental changes in foodservice, agriculture, health policy, food processing and even what happens at the family dinner table.

But the means of achieving those lofty ends are often small advances and tweaks to the collective mindset, as the CIA’s annual conference on the initiative reminded attendees this week.

Here...

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