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

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

Ideas and Innovation
earth

When putting together our surveys, FoodService Director’s editors tend to ask operators about big trends that we’re seeing throughout the industry. For the November "Besties" issue , we asked readers to share the best ways they’re menuing things like plant-based dishes, trending international cuisines and creative DIY options.

Great responses flooded in from across the country, and it was tough to narrow down which would make it into the cover story. A few even came in after the piece was finished. Laura Thompson, resident district manager for Aramark at James Madison University,...

FSD Resources