Reflections from SNIC

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

Sodium reduction and an update from the USDA were highlights of the School Nutrition Association’s leadership conference.

Operators also expressed concern about alternatives that might be put into products to make them more acceptable once the salt is taken out. One commenter likened it to the “fake fats” and said, “We all know what that did for the digestive tract.”

Another salt comment was about kids becoming the Food Network society and watching shows like “Chopped.” “It seems every time someone is chopped it’s because they don’t put enough salt in their food,” one person commented.

Thornton had this to say: “We as a society learned to like sodium gradually, so we need to learn to unlike it gradually.”

Here are a few other highlights from the conference:

  • The proposed professional standards for school foodservice employees should be released soon. These will establish hiring standards for state directors (current employees are grandfathered in). For a district’s nutrition director, these will establish the training and criteria needed to be hired for that position and ongoing training that will be needed. These will also establish what ongoing training is needed for school nutrition professionals at the district level.
  • The proposed rule around local wellness policies should be issued in the next few months. Expect to see an emphasis on public involvement in development of policy and on assessment of policy.
  • As of last October, 81% of SFAs have been certified as meeting new meal regs; 86% have turned in applications and are waiting to be processed.
  • In regard to breakfast in the classroom, operators can preplate, and don’t have to provide every combination of meal offerings to comply with offer versus serve.
  • When it comes to competitive foods regs this fall: Cindy Long, of the USDA, said they will be working on corrective action and helping those locations that do not meet the new rules. The USDA will not withhold federal reimbursement for those districts that are not in compliance.

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