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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
spilled coffee beans glasses

Following an initial test at the end of May, Starbucks announced that more than 500 of its stores will be pouring nitro coffee by the end of summer. Capitalizing on the cold-brew coffee trend—which reached $7.9 million in sales in 2015 on 115% growth from the previous year, according to researcher Mintel—select U.S. cafes will give up the counter space to serve the creamy, nitrogen-infused java made from the cold-brew base. But how did nitro become the hottest new thing in coffee?

Bringing the bar to coffeehouses

It was the chrome double tap, similar to a bar’s beer tap, and the...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

FSD Resources