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

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