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

Ideas and Innovation
ticket stubs

Every week, our cooks pick an experimental kitchen project to expand their skills, culminating in a Friday contest where they cook a new dish that puts them out of their comfort zone. The winner of the weekly contest is awarded points and prizes. The cook with the most points at the end of the year receives a free ticket to an annual team gathering in Maine, where staffers bond and gain inspiration from coastal menus.

Managing Your Business
shaking hands graphic

Anyone who has moseyed down the self-help section of the local bookstore, probably has picked up on the mantra that positive relationships are built on trust. Employer-employee bonds are no different, according to research published in the January-February issue of Harvard Business Review. The study reports that employees at high-trust companies experience 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days and 76% more engagement. Here’s how operators can start putting those numbers on the board.

Putting in the effort

At the University of...

Ideas and Innovation
bowling ball pins

We patterned our chef culinary competition after the one pioneered by the University of Massachusetts. This year, 11 teams of college chefs registered. Each team gets the same market basket and has two hours to prepare three dishes. The starting times have to be staggered and nobody wants the 6 a.m. slot, so instead of randomly assigning times, this year we took the teams bowling and used their scores to determine starting times. The two teams with the highest combined bowling score got to pick their time slot first. Going bowling built camaraderie and team spirit before the teams even got...

Managing Your Business
performance review anxiety

For all the most obvious reasons, managers and staff don’t always agree. But both sides can get behind retiring annual performance reviews, according to a January survey from software company Adobe, which quit the practice in 2012. There, 64% of surveyed workers and 62% of supervisors consider yearly evaluations outdated.

“My philosophy is if I have to wait a year to tell you where you stand, it’s a little too late,” says Al Ferrone, senior director of dining services at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ferrone and other operators are reforming the meetings to add real...

FSD Resources