Madison-Oneida BOCES news

(Canastota, Oneida, Stockbridge, NY – July 2012) Students and families should expect to see several changes to the school cafeteria this year, due to new federal and state guidelines for the school food service program.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture adopted new standards to make school meals healthier, limiting the amount of calories, fat, salt and sugar that food served in the school lunch line can contain. Schools across the state and nation participating in the National School Lunch Program must comply with these new standards beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

“Students are going to see some big changes – changes to the food we can serve, to how we charge for a meal, to the items that are sold a la carte,” said Joyce Smith, food services manager for Madison-Oneida BOCES.

Most notably, in order for a school lunch to qualify as a “reimbursable meal” or eligible for free and reduced-price meals, students must have a fruit or vegetable on their tray. Previously, students needed only to take three of the five items offered.

“So a student who used to take a pizza, a milk and a cookie, or chicken nuggets, cheese sticks and a roll – those meals won’t count, and the students will be charged,” Smith said.

A “reimbursable meal” is one that meets federal guidelines so the school cafeteria service can receive payment from the federal government for serving it. This payment makes up the different between what the school charges students and what the food actually costs to purchase and prepare.

Other major changes will include:

* Specific calorie minimums and maximums per meal, based on age/grade level

* Serving greater daily amounts of fruits and vegetables

* Serving specific vegetables from different categories, including a new requirement to serve dark greens, beans/peas/legumes and red/orange vegetables each week

* Reducing the amount of meat and meat alternatives served

* Setting a maximum amount of bread/grains served per day

* Requiring that at least half of the grains served must be whole grain

* Requiring all milk served to be 1 percent or fat-free, and chocolate milk may only be fat-free

For more details on the changes, visit fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/.

The Madison-Oneida BOCES Food Service Program manages the cafeteria service for the Canastota, Oneida, Stockbridge Valley and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school districts and the BOCES Alternative Education Programs.

By martha

One thought on “Food Service Programs Prepare for Changes”
  1. The link: fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/ should be: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/. A few 10th graders in Canastota and I were talking last night about the school lunches served. I would hope there is new oversight in the lunch department. the kids spoke of mozzarella sticks that you could hit several times on the table and they were so hard they wouldn’t break, so that ruled out chewing. The chicken nuggets, when bitten into, are watery and many times undercooked. The pizza line is so long, they only had pizza 3 times last year and that would be their first choice. Apparently the seniors can cut into the line and always cut to the front so the other kids have to wait and wait leaving very little time to sit, relax and enjoy their lunch. I would suggest opening a line just for seniors then the other grades would have a chance to get the meal they want. There were alot of other complaints about the quality of food but this covers a few. Just some thoughts.

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