Federal mandate prompts fruit and vegetable lunch requirements
August 13, 2012—School cafeterias in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD plan to meet new federal nutrition standards for school meals during the 2012-2013 school year.
Beginning on the first day of school, August 27, students will be required to take a one-half cup of fruit and/or a one-half cup of vegetables in order to receive their meal at the posted price. If the student does not include the fruit and/or vegetable requirement on his or her tray, the student will be charged the adult meal price for lunch. This year, a school lunch costs $2.00 for elementary students and $2.25 for secondary students, while the adult price for school lunch is $3.00.
The district’s decisions to increase meal prices and mandate that each student meal contain a serving of vegetables and/or fruit are a result of federal legislation, specifically the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Implementation of this law will affect CFISD as well as school districts throughout the nation.
All food service employees will receive training on the new guidelines prior to the arrival of students this fall. The focus of the training will be on ways to assist students in making healthy choices in an effort to make sure that student meals are in compliance with the new regulations.
“While our employees will be encouraging students to take fruits and vegetables, we are counting on parents to help encourage our students to try them,” said Darin Crawford, CFISD food service director. “Our focus this year will be on educating all our customers on the benefits of healthy eating. The food service staff will be available whenever needed to speak with employees, students, or parent teacher organizations.”
Each student meal that meets USDA guidelines is subsidized, in part or in whole, by the federal government. If a meal does not meet current guidelines, the meal can not be subsidized and therefore will be priced higher than a meal that does meet guidelines.
CFISD is committed to providing meals that appeal to students and meet federal nutrition guidelines while allowing the district to be fiscally responsible. Food service department staff are available to assist parents with questions concerning the quality or nutritional value of school meals at 281-897-4535.
Parents who wish to voice concerns about the federal legislation are encouraged to contact the Food & Nutrition Services Division of the USDA—by phone at the Office of Public Affairs at 703-305-2281 or by mail at 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 926, Alexandria, Va., 22302.