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USDA Relies on Feedback to Help Schools, Children Adapt to New Meal Standards

Jue, 05/22/2014 - 12:03pm
As many schools wind down for the year, USDA is gearing up for exciting new improvements designed to make the 2014-2015 school year even healthier for our nation’s future leaders.  It’s a commitment rooted in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  In that legislation, USDA is directed to update the school meals to reflect [...]

Insects for Dinner? Potential Tool in the Toolkit to Achieve Global Food Security

Vie, 05/16/2014 - 5:41pm
As an entomologist, the notion of eating insects isn’t new to me. However, for most Americans, the thought can make their stomachs churn. And yet, maybe seeing insects on their dinner plates is something Americans should get used to seeing. Yesterday, I delivered the keynote address at the Insects as Food Conference, which was hosted by the [...]

Organic 101: Understanding the “Made with Organic***” Label

Vie, 05/16/2014 - 11:39am
This is the sixteenth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations. Deciphering food labels and marketing claims can be a challenge for the average consumer.  Companies use production and handling claims as a way to differentiate their products in the marketplace. Organic is one label that most [...]

Beef Up Your Knowledge: Meat Marbling 101

Jue, 05/15/2014 - 5:35pm
Grilling season is upon us.  It’s time to enjoy that wonderful smell of meat cooking across neighborhood backyards. With so many choices available at your store and meat counter, choosing the best cut of meat for your dish can be overwhelming. With a bit of beef knowledge, you can avoid that problem, and be the [...]

Innovative Approach to Feeding At-Risk Children during Summer Shines in Florida

Jue, 05/15/2014 - 5:35pm
With summer approaching, many of our nation’s students will soon be out of school enjoying their break.  However, too many of these children may miss out on a meal they normally would receive through USDA’s school meals programs.  Thanks to an innovative approach, Florida’s at-risk children can now have meals brought to them through the [...]

Cinco de Mayo Event Offers an Opportunity to Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Mié, 05/14/2014 - 11:25am
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo last week, we here at the Food and Nutrition Service had the chance to participate in the 22nd National Cinco de Mayo Festival® Latinos Living Healthy Feria de Salud, sponsored by the League of Latino American Citizens (LULAC). The exciting event, held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., [...]

USDA’s Innovative Technology Streamlines Federal Food Purchasing Logistics

Vie, 05/09/2014 - 5:02pm
Logistics is not just a fancy buzz word; it is the oil that keeps the engine of an interconnected global market running smoothly. For U.S. food purchasing agencies, logistics means ordering, procuring, and delivering nearly 8.5 billion pounds of domestically-produced foods by successfully awarding nearly $3 billion in contracts during the last fiscal year. It [...]

California Food for California Kids, Especially on Thursdays

Mié, 05/07/2014 - 10:48am
I collect aprons like other people collect coins. There are dozens hanging in my kitchen, so many I suspect several have never actually been used. So it was with some self-consciousness that I accepted yet another apron last fall from the Center for Ecoliteracy. The Center was handing out hundreds of aprons to California school [...]

The Heroism of Fostering a Healthier Next Generation

Mar, 05/06/2014 - 10:46pm
Cross posted from the Huffington Post: As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Nowhere is this more evident than in our nation’s schools. Each day, millions of America’s young people are educated, fed and nurtured in these academic “villages.” A crucial aspect of each child’s education is learning how to [...]

Developing National Dietary Guidance for the Birth to 24 Months Age Group

Mar, 05/06/2014 - 10:46pm
Good nutrition is vital to optimal infant and toddler growth, development, and health. The importance of this age group has been emphasized by First Lady Michelle Obama, who said that “If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if [...]

School Nutrition Professionals – Our Everyday Heroes

Vie, 05/02/2014 - 10:21am
As the school year begins to wind down, let’s take time to acknowledge the unsung heroes in our nation’s school cafeterias.  School nutrition employees contribute greatly to a child’s short- and long-term health and academic success, but their contributions often go without recognition.  Today is School Lunch Hero Day, and next week (May 5-9) is [...]

FNS Uses Research to Protect Taxpayer Dollars

Mié, 04/30/2014 - 10:09am
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, while ensuring that our program are effective and well managed. For Federal nutrition assistance programs to succeed over the [...]

Expanding Opportunities for Small-Scale Beef Producers

Mar, 04/29/2014 - 4:05pm
Sometimes big things come in small packages.  At USDA, we provide programs and services to producers of all sizes – and now we’re offering even more to small-scale and local beef producers.  Many small-scale producers are contributing to the growth of the grass-fed beef industry.  And, thanks to a new program tailored to meet their [...]

USDA’s Nutrition Evidence Library: Answering Food and Nutrition Questions with Systematic Reviews

Lun, 04/28/2014 - 3:58pm
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, such as laying the foundation for evidence-based food and nutrition policies and programs by compiling and reviewing the best [...]

How Research Shapes Vital Nutrition Programs

Vie, 04/25/2014 - 9:20pm
During the month of April we will take a closer look at USDA’s Groundbreaking Research for a Revitalized Rural America, highlighting ways USDA researchers are improving the lives of Americans in ways you might never imagine, such as using research to inform policy decisions about our nutrition assistance programs, which reach 1 in 4 Americans. [...]

Experience Earth Day with USDA

Mar, 04/22/2014 - 3:03pm
Earth Day is a reminder that some of our best moments can be spent in the great outdoors. Getting outside is one of the best ways to feel re-invigorated, whether on a short hike to the Crags Trail on Pike National Forest or on a longer exploration of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail, which winds through [...]

Farm Bill Listening Session: New and Expanding Opportunities for the Organic Industry

Vie, 04/18/2014 - 2:45pm
Organic agriculture serves as an engine for rural development, representing a $35 billion industry in the United States alone. USDA is committed to protecting the integrity of organic products, and ensuring that all of our agencies work together to help the organic sector continue to grow. Members of the organic community are important partners in [...]

Secretary’s Column: Farm Bill Supports Specialty Crop Growers, Improves Access to Healthy Food

Vie, 04/18/2014 - 2:45pm
The 2014 Farm Bill has already set in motion and accomplished so much for our country. With historic support for specialty crop producers across the country, the bill will touch every one of our lives through one of the most basic of human needs: food. Specialty crops make up the bulk of what we eat—all [...]

Local Combines with American Grown

Mié, 04/16/2014 - 2:33pm
Quickly assembling tortilla wraps for hungry students is a hard job. I learned this first hand recently at Stone Spring Elementary in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Mary Lou, Ott and Jean, the cafeteria staff responsible for preparing and serving school meals every day, took control of the kitchen, quickly assembling 300 turkey wraps while I clumsily tried [...]

Where Do Kids Eat When School is out in Summer? FNS Partners with the Department of Education to Find Solutions

Vie, 04/11/2014 - 2:06pm
As we approach the summer season, USDA is vigorously preparing to fill the nutrition gap faced by millions of kids across the country. While 21 million of our sons and daughters receive free and reduced-priced lunches during the school year, only a small percentage participate in the summer meals programs, leaving too many of our [...]