USDA to test adding canned, frozen produce in federal school snack program

Schools participating in the USDA's Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program are reimbursed for providing free fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day.

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Department of Agriculture is moving ahead with a new pilot program to test the impact of opening up the popular school fruit and vegetable program to canned, frozen or dried fruits and vegetables.

Schools selected to participate in USDA's Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program are reimbursed for providing free fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day. The 2014 farm bill, signed Feb. 7 by President Obama, directed USDA to carry out a pilot program in FFVP-participating schools to examine the impact on children from widening the offerings to canned, frozen or dried fruits and vegetables.

When the farm bill passed, the American Frozen Food Institute lauded Congress for voting to include a one-year, $5 million pilot program in elementary schools across five states to test the efficacy of serving, canned, dried and frozen fruits and vegetables as snacks to low-income school children.

"On behalf of U.S. frozen fruit and vegetable producers, AFFI commends Congress for taking this important step towards establishing a new long-term initiative to improve childhood nutrition by providing schools with the opportunity to offer children the widest possible variety of healthy fruit and vegetable snacks, including frozen," said Kraig Naasz, president and chief executive officer of AFFI.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

FSD Resources