Question of the month

Congress blocks Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act revisions regarding tomatoes and potatoes.

Congress’s recent move to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing some rules designed to make school meals healthier has generated a lot of comment in and around the foodservice industry. For readers who haven’t kept up with the news, the USDA sought to increase the amount of tomato paste that would be required to make items—such as pizza—qualify for a serving of vegetables. The agency also wanted to limit the amount of potato products that could be served in foodservice operations.

Congress, reportedly after intense lobbying from companies that sell frozen pizzas and potato products to schools, put the kibosh on those efforts. This has led many news columnists and bloggers, including this editor, to question whether Congress should have the power to scuttle such endeavors.

Recently, FoodService Director created a new offering called “Question of the Month.” Currently found on our Facebook page, QOTM invites readers to sound off on a particular topic. We thought this would create a social media forum for readers, something that if successful would be expanded on the site.

To kick off this effort, we chose the topic of the USDA vs. Congress. Specifically, was Congress right to step in to block proposed USDA regulations regarding potatoes and tomatoes?

We’ve already gotten some interesting and informed responses. We’d like to know what you think. The best answer will appear in next month’s issue of FSD, but the debate can rage on within our Facebook page. So please take some time to visit the site and weigh in. And don’t forget to keep checking back for more provocative questions as we move into 2012.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
MeuDirections

One of my favorite cartoons shows a commander whose soldiers are in the midst of fighting a war with bows and arrows. Without turning around, he tells a man who has come up behind him, “I’m sorry, I’m too busy to talk to you.” The man was a rifle salesman.

In today’s time-pressed world, we are all too busy. So, it can be difficult to find time to reach out to others for ideas, solutions and best practices. But as that cartoon illustrates, it’s critical to being successful. The sharing of knowledge is a pillar of FoodService Director . Through our magazine and events, we have been...

Ideas and Innovation
chefs

We started inviting chefs and FSDs from other districts to come prepare lunch. Through featuring different chefs and chef-inspired meals, I’ve found the students have been looking forward to coming into the cafeteria. They are willing to try new things with crazy names, and to ask for their favorite outside items turned healthy.

Ideas and Innovation
tapas

I’ve created a high school “focus group” to see what future college students will want in terms of foodservice. This year, I called up two now-seniors from the last group to get 10 of their friends together. I also include a sophomore or two so that I always have a contact for next year. Tapas, grain bowls and late-night breakfast all originated from this group.

Ideas and Innovation
making meals

This summer, we teamed up with a church to deliver meals to three housing projects. We brought the meals to the church, and then the church recruited volunteers to deliver the meals to the children. We’ve been very impressed with this new model, and it shows great promise in getting meals to children who otherwise would not be able to leave their housing project.

FSD Resources