USDA updates media on school nutrition

Aug. 16—During a conference call with media yesterday, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said the department was working hard to have the final rule for the updated nutrition standards, as specified under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, finalized by the end of the year. Concannon said more than 132,000 comments had been received about the act. The USDA finished reviewing those comments last month.

“We are reviewing [the rule] right now,” he said. “Most of the comments were quite positive, but we are also mindful that there are a number of significant changes in [the bill], so we want to make sure that it is achievable.”

One area in the bill that Concannon said the department was looking at was the language of offer versus serve for the increased amount of fruits and vegetables that are now required.

Concannon also added that the department hopes to have the proposed standards for competitive foods released before the calendar year.

Also on the call was Becky Bounds, child nutrition director for the Lamar County School District in Mississippi. Lamar County is the first district in the nation to achieve a Gold with Distinction award in the HealthierUS School Challenge for a high school.

Bounds said she has already made many of the proposed requirements in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. “It is a time when we are making many changes, but they are changes that need to be made,” Bounds said about the child nutrition environment. “We are not part of the program. We are part of the fix. It does take revitalizing your menus and educating your staff and knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing,” to achieve these changes.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

The new unpaid-balance policy at Canon-McMillan School District in Pittsburgh is making waves after a former cafeteria worker sounded off about the practice on social media.

Stacy Koltiska said she quit her job with the district after being forced to take hot meals away from students who owed lunch money, CBS News reports .

Under a new policy that was implemented at Canon-McMillan this year, students whose lunch debt exceeds $25 are not allowed to receive a hot lunch. Children in grades K-6 are given a sandwich in its place, and older students receive no lunch. A recent...

Industry News & Opinion

Due to low participation in its lunch program, Talawanda School District in Oxford, Ohio, is raising the price of school meals this year, Patch.com reports .

The cost of school lunches will see a 30-cent increase, half of which is being enacted to cover the district’s budget. The other half is being required by the government to cover the cost of free and reduced-price lunches provided to low-income families. Prior to this year, the district had not raised prices since 2009.

The district’s cafeterias have experienced a decline in student participation since implementing the...

Industry News & Opinion

Six Philadelphia hospitals were honored by the city’s department of public health for healthy food initiatives introduced as part of the local Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program, bizjournals.com reports .

The hospitals each debuted healthy measures to their dining services, such as lowering the cost of water bottles and seltzers, and offering dishes that incorporate local produce. One hospital was also honored for operating its own organic farm.

The facilities that were honored were:

Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Eastern...

FSD Resources