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

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...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at Martin Luther College will be able to cook their own food in the cafeteria this year, thanks to the addition of a new self-cook station installed during the cafeteria’s renovation, The Journal reports.

In addition to the self-cook station, which contains induction cookers, the revamped cafeteria at the New Ulm, Minn., school will include new pizza equipment, a panini grill, tiled floors, poured countertops and new arrangements to make the cafeteria appear more open.

"We wanted to make it look more like a restaurant and not like a cafeteria," Director of Dining...

Industry News & Opinion

Two chefs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., are trying to help solve the Mars food dilemma, myfoxspokane.com reports .

Just outside the school’s cafeteria, Executive Chef Timothy Grayson and his partner, Christine Logan-Travis, are trying their hand at growing tomatoes, oregano, basil and other plants in Martian Regolith Soil, the closest soil on Earth to that found on the fourth planet from the sun.

All of the plants in the Mars-inspired garden are intended for human consumption.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to...

FSD Resources