As the holiday season inches closer and closer, catch up on the latest school food service news and create a pre-holiday checklist.
President Signs Bill To Increase EpiPens in Schools
With life threatening allergies on the rise, President Obama signed a bill on Wednesday November 13 to increase EpiPens in schools. Read more from The Wall Street Journal.
FAME Award Winners Announced
Winners have been announced for the 25th annual Foodservice Achievement Management Excellence (FAME) Awards program. Sandra Ford, SNS, director, Food and Nutrition Services of the Manatee County School District in Bradenton, Fla. won Golden Food Service Director of the Year. Read about this award and learn about other award winners from the School Nutrition Association.
Data Now Available for National School Lunch Participation and More
The USDA has updated data for Child Nutrition Tables. Learn about National School Lunch and School Breakfast participation, program costs, meals served and more on from the USDA.
Changes to National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services has proposed a rule “to amend the eligibility regulations for free and reduced price meals under the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program to codify the statutory provision that establishes the community eligibility provision, a reimbursement option for eligible local educational agencies and schools that wish to offer free school meals to all children in high poverty schools without collecting household applications.” Read the rule in it’s entirety or read a summarized version from the the School Nutrition Association.
Farm to School Month and School to Farm Census Results
October was the USDA’s Farm to School Month. During this year’s event, they released the first “Farm to School Census” from the 2011 to 2012 school year. This study concluded there were over 38,000 schools with 21 million students serving over $350 million in local food. Read more from the USDA and view the census results.
Replace Old Equipment
It is easy to ignore problems or or fail to keep up with routine maintenance when it comes to food service equipment–that is until something goes out completely. Never wait until equipment is broken because in some cases it can take days for a service call to get resolved (which could be detrimental to your operation). Take some time to review routine maintenance goals and replace equipment (or supplies) if necessary.
Review Food Safety Goals
Make sure school food service employees are following all food safety guidelines from proper handwashing techniques to cooking food thoroughly. Our Food Safety Resource Guide can help fill in any blanks and read articles about food safety on our blog.
Implement or Reassess Food Allergy Protocol
According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), one of every 13 children are affected by food allergies. Whether your school food service is very familiar with allergies, or is just learning how to implement procedures, it’s important to review your strategy. In October, the CDC released “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs” which is a great resource for schools of all levels.
Take advantage of potential free money to improve your school food service. Here are a few grants currently available on a national level, be sure to search your area for local grants:
Analyze Food Buying Procedures
Take some time to review how much your school food service is buying and spending. The National Food Service Management Institute of the University of Mississippi has created this helpful “Food Buying Guide” which is a calculator for the child nutrition programs. It allows you to choose a type of food, serving size and number of servings then calculates how much should be purchased. This is a free feature that doesn’t require (or even have) login information; simply print or email your list.