USDA launches digital applications for Child Nutrition Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has rolled out a web-based prototype for students to apply for free or reduced-price meals, the goal of which is to reduce errors and streamline the process for foodservice departments and students.

Nutrition programs will be able to use the web application in addition to traditional paper versions, which also have been updated based on new research. The digital experience can be modified by states as well as individual schools, and will include prompts and feedback that aim to guide the user and reduce error rates.

The new technology is part of a larger USDA initiative to create a more swift and accurate system of qualifying students who do not receive proper nutrition. Direct certification from students who are enrolled in food assistance programs and the Community Eligibility Provision in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act—which grants universal free or reduced-price lunch to districts with more than 40% directly enrolled—also seek to lighten the load for directors and enroll more eligible students.  

The House’s Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill could change the Community Eligibility Provision. If passed before Congress adjourns in December, it would raise the participation threshold from 40% to 60% directly enrolled students. The bill would also offer a block grant to three undetermined states, exempting them from federal regulations.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA has awarded the Indiana State Department of Health a 2018 grant to help support farm-to-school programs in the state, WBIW reports.

The department will receive $98,468 over two years to support the Indiana State Department of Agriculture's Indiana Grown program, which is responsible for promoting local ingredients in school meals and other farm-to-school events.

The grant money will go toward creating resources and a promotional campaign to help districts incorporate fresh ingredients in meals. It will also be used to support and grow the state’s 11 farm-to-school...

Industry News & Opinion

Dining services at Boston College will this fall introduce a new layer in its sustainability efforts: reusable takeout containers.

The containers will make their debut at the school’s Stuart Dining Hall, The Heights reports .

To combat theft of the to-go boxes, the school will use a token system by which students who pay $8 to join the Green 2 Go program will receive tokens that they can them redeem for containers. Once used, they will return a container to a particular register and receive another token. If a student loses a box or token, they can buy their way back into...

Menu Development
spicy bibimbop

Bowls continue to trend as meal carriers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both operators and the guests they feed appreciate bowls for their convenience, customizability and creative combinations. Build-your-own stations are increasingly popular ways to offer bowls in college dining, corporate venues and school and hospital cafeterias. But building a satisfying bowl takes more planning than randomly tossing ingredients together in one vessel.

Playing with layering

“Texture is the secret ingredient for a successful bowl,” says Kevin Cecilio, senior director of culinary innovations...

Industry News & Opinion

Austin Independent School District in Texas is introducing new globally influenced menu items this school year, Spectrum News reports.

The offerings are meant to reflect the district’s diverse student body and will include yuca fries, Jamaican meat pies and plantains.

Read the full story via spectrumlocalnews.com .

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code