USDA released new competitive foods regs

Healthier foods targeted for vending, snacks sold in schools.

Feb. 1—More healthy foods, less junk food. That’s the basis of the USDA’s newly released Smart Snacks in Schools regulations, required under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The proposed rule will be published soon, but highlights include:

More of the foods we should encourage. Promoting availability of healthy snack foods with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients.

Less of the foods we should avoid. Ensuring that snack food items are lower in fat, sugar, and sodium and provide more of the nutrients kids need.

Targeted standards. Allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.

Flexibility for important traditions. Preserving the ability for parents to send in bagged lunches of their choosing or treats for activities such as birthday parties, holidays, and other celebrations; and allowing schools to continue traditions like occasional fundraisers and bake sales.

Reasonable limitations on when and where the standards apply. Ensuring that standards only affect foods that are sold on school campus during the school day. Foods sold at an afterschool sporting event or other activity will not be subject to these requirements.

Flexibility for state and local communities. Allowing significant local and regional autonomy by only establishing minimum requirements for schools. States and schools that have stronger standards than what is being proposed will be able to maintain their own policies.

Significant transition period for schools and industry. The standards will not go into effect until at least one full school year after public comment is considered and an implementing rule is published to ensure that schools and vendors have adequate time to adapt.

These regulations do no affect reimbursable meals sold in the cafeteria. They do affect à la carte, vending and snack sales. The rules also do not affect classroom parties, fundraisers or items sold at sporting events.

"School Nutrition Association (SNA) supports the goal of ensuring that all foods and beverages sold in schools are healthy options for students,” said SNA President Sandra Ford. “School nutrition professionals have been working hard to increase nutritious choices available in the cafeteria by serving more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and limiting the sodium and fat in meals-all part of ongoing efforts to implement new nutrition standards for school meals. SNA looks forward to reviewing the details of these newly proposed competitive food regulations and providing feedback through the public comment process.”  

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
steam table server

Over the past five years, this column has kept me current on topics ranging from culinary techniques to HR policies to pest control. As a culinary and hospitality educator, one of the things I really value about my work with Restaurant Business , FoodService Director's sister publication, is that it broadens my knowledge base so I have more answers in the classroom.

But part of being a good professor is being smart enough to say, “I have no clue, but I know who will.” When it comes to equipment engineering, I’m lucky if I can find the “on” switch.

Fortunately, I have James...

Industry News & Opinion

HMSHost has partnered with golf tournament organizer PGA Tour to open a new PGA Tour Grill location in El Paso International Airport in El Paso, Texas.

The grill aims to promote an active lifestyle through healthy food options outside of traditional airport fare, and appeals to golf fans with flat-screen TVs dedicated to golf tournaments and related programming.

“The new PGA Tour Grill is a perfect addition to the El Paso International Airport as it brings a new and refreshing menu,” Monica Lombrana, director of aviation at El Paso International Airport, said in a statement...

Industry News & Opinion

K-12 foodservice participating in federal nutrition programs soon could fall into some extra cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to buy 11 million pounds of cheese to raise plummeting prices, the result of a dairy glut. The acquired product will be distributed to federal nutrition programs, which might include WIC, SNAP and Child Nutrition Programs, and food banks.

The purchase falls short of a call from Congress, unions, special interest groups and commodity organizations for a $150 million buyout of dairy assets to mitigate the 35% drop in dairy revenues—a 30-year...

Ideas and Innovation
cardboard takeout box

The death knell keeps ringing for polystyrene containers. A story Monday in the Chicago Tribune reports that a man who provided free recycling for the foam products in 10 area communities is shutting down his services, citing expense and logistical difficulties, and leaving few options for diverting the material from landfills.

“From a business perspective, there is no market for [recycled polystyrene foam]. It's difficult to sell,” Beth Lang, facilities and general services manager at the Recycling Drop-Off Center in Naperville, Ill., told the Tribune. “The second reason, and more...

FSD Resources