Did the USDA Learn from Last Year’s Ill Feelings Over New School Regs?

This time around, the USDA has provided alternatives and asked for help deciding which option will work best.

Perhaps the USDA learned something from the release of last year’s new meal pattern regulations.

Last week the organization released its latest set of proposed regulations for school food. These rules affect competitive foods and snacks. Reading through the regs I was pleased to see that the USDA, in several cases, has offered alternative proposals for specific requirements. The organization has asked for child nutrition professionals to comment on which option would be a better fit.

That’s a nice departure from last year’s regs, when alternatives were not offered. The USDA, as required by law, did have a public comment period for operators to provide their thoughts. But this time around the USDA is asking for operators to provide them with feedback on specific options. Why is that important? Many child nutrition directors expressed some version of the following sentiment regarding the release of last year’s regs, “No one asked us what would work or not work.”

Even if the USDA already has its preferred method in mind, by getting those people who actually have to implement these standards directly involved in the decision-making process, they might feel a little more ownership over the regs. That could lead to less grumbling this time around. 

Keywords: 
new concepts

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

Industry News & Opinion

Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

Sponsored Content
whole grain pasta foodservice menu

From Barilla.

With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

FSD Resources