USDA chief blasts GOP attack on school lunch menus

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged the organic industry to fight back during a conference on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack fired back Wednesday at Republican-led efforts to weaken nutrition guidelines in the federal school lunch program that were championed by first lady Michelle Obama and enacted in 2010 when Democrats ruled the House.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires children to take a serving of fresh fruits or vegetables at their school lunch. The rules, which took effect in 2012, are in essence a massive national experiment, using the $10 billion national school lunch program to change American eating habits to reduce obesity and the chronic diseases that accompany it.

Headlining the Organic Trade Association’s annual conference Wednesday in Washington, Vilsack labeled as “outrageous” the GOP policy rider in the agriculture appropriations bill now moving through Congress, and he urged the organic industry to fight back.

More From FoodService Director

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,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

Managing Your Business
line kings girl goat open kitchen

Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

Train to serve

With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

Dress for a mess

At Girl & The Goat in Chicago, chef-owner Stephanie...

FSD Resources