By Patti Rigby, Child Nutrition Director at Carbon School District
A large challenge to the USDA 2010 Health Hunger Free Kids Act is the availability of foods that are required to be offered or served. The fruit and vegetable requirements have been especially difficult. Most of us prefer serving fresh fruits when possible to students. This is an increasing challenge. On July 1, 2014, the regulations changed, requiring a full cup of fruit to be offered at breakfast, increased from ½ cup last year.
By the USDA doubling the basic breakfast fruit requirement from ½ cup to 1 cup, the school food service distribution system needs as many as 13 million more servings of fruit per day this year nationwide.
We are restricted in using fresh, domestically grown fruit due to seasonal availability. Statewide, we are also finding our orders marked out and costs rising because of the canned fruit shortage.
This fruit mandate came without additional funding but the average cost is 27 cents per breakfast for the increased requirement.