USDA's Audrey Lowe speaks out on Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Cites flexibility as being key to act's implementation.

May 16—First lady Michelle Obama visited the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this month and praised the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, the 2010 law designed to make school lunches more nutritious. Audrey Rowe, the administrator of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), oversees federal nutrition assistance and education programs, including the 2010 law. Rowe spoke with Tom Fox, a guest writer for The Washington Post's On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. He also heads the Partnership’s Center for Government Leadership.

What are you doing to ensure implementation of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act?

Once the legislation was passed, we proposed rules for the school meals program and received over 132,000 comments from school food service directors, health professionals, parents and students. When we issued the final rules, they needed to be carried out and it was important to be out there talking to the schools, traveling around the country and listening to the challenges people were facing. We quickly realized that there was one provision involving our meat protein rules that presented the greatest challenge, so we allowed some flexibility. Having worked at the state level, I understand what it means when a federal policy comes down and you’re trying to implement it and it’s not working for you. It can be frustrating not being able to get some flexibility.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources