SNA tries again to get its flexibility message out

The association held a conference call to share hardships directors are facing with the new USDA regulations.

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill.—The School Nutrition Association (SNA) held a conference call today to address the growing discontent surrounding the child nutrition industry.

SNA is asking Congress and the USDA to allow for one-year waivers for new regulations set to go into place July 1 for those districts that have been negatively impacted financially by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The White House, USDA and SNA past presidents have spoken out against allowing the waivers.

Here’s what some of the conference participants said about the need for the waivers:

Michael Rosenberger, Irving ISD, Texas: Our cost is up 20 cents per lunch to meet the 6-cent certification. We anticipate the cost of breakfast to up 28 cents with the new regulations; that’s an $882,000 in food cost for breakfast with zero increase in reimbursement. With the new regulations, we’re looking at having to cut our popular entrée salad program because it is unaffordable. Breakfast in the classroom and universal breakfast are on a warning light because of increased cost. There’s a risk nationwide of dumbing down menus to meet the new regs when you get the same amount of money no matter how good your menu is (i.e., more processed meat instead of whole-muscle meats and canned vegetables instead of fresh). Some people in our industry call the loss of 1 million meals served per year a success.

Sara Gasiorowski, Wayne Township, Indiana: What kind of message is being sent to our kids when we can sell diet soda and sugar-free gum but not a chicken breast sandwich on whole-grain bread because the sodium is too high?

Cindy Marion, Yadkin County Schools, North Carolina: These new regulations are really pushing our paying students away from the program. I’m a little concerned we’re beginnig to demonize foods like tortillas and grits that are regional or cultural. When we see numbers of meals going down, I don’t know how anyone can refute that districts are having trouble with these regs. Students are walking away from the program.

Joannie Miller, Bogalusa City Schools, Louisiana: We’re not moving backwards when we ask for the changes; we want the flexibility to do our jobs. I’m upset with the recent politicization of the program in the media; I’ve been working with state legislators to keep them informed, both Democrats and Republicans.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources