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school food service

Latest School Food Service News and Pre-Holiday Checklist

As the holiday season inches closer and closer, catch up on the latest school food service news and create a pre-holiday checklist.

school food serviceLatest School Food Service News

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.

school food servicePre-Holiday Checklist

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.

school food serviceApply for Grants

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.

 

As the First Lady says: LET’S MOVE!

First Lady Michelle Obama has started a new campaign to end childhood obesity. Let’s Move! focuses on four primary principles one of them being serving healthier food in school cafeterias. She has chosen to start this campaign with the hope that the next generation of children will reach adult life at a healthy weight.

This campaign was launched during President Obama’s plan to improve the quality of the food served in schools. He has proposed a $10 billion investment to upgrade kitchen equipment in schools and train the food service workers among other things. President Obama also hopes to provide the funding for more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy products to be served in schools.

The 5 states to receive this grant are Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. The grants equal $1.9 million which is being used to increase enrollment in school meal programs. This will be done through a direct certification and  verification process. This process will allow state and local agencies to automatically certify children who are currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or  the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) for free school meals without having to fill out a household application.

These two programs combined offer great promise for our future generations. Healthier eating habits at home lead to healthier eating habits at schools and vice versa. LET’S MOVE! to raise a healthier generation of kids.