Food News: Healthier School Lunch Standards are Working, and a New Bill Could Cut Food Waste

Here are some recent news stories you might have missed:

Update: The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved child nutrition reauthorization on Jan. 20, voting a final version of the “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016” out of committee. Read our blog post with highlights.

NPR’s The Salt: Vegetables Likely To Take More Of Your Plate In 2016
The latest trend in the culinary world? Vegetables. More restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, are serving dishes where vegetables are at the center of the plate and meat is used as a flavoring or side dish. Chefs are also more aware of food waste, employing a “stem-to-leaf approach” to use all parts of the vegetable. Even Sweetgreen, an East Coast fast food chain, has a salad on its menu that uses leftover vegetable scraps, like broccoli leaves, kale stems, cabbage cores and bread crust. Read more 2016 food trends on The Salt.

TWC News: Food Industry Leaders Say URI Funds Will Bring Agriculture in New York to New Heights
Experts from Albany and Cornell University are saying that agricultural expansion funded through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative will generate millions of dollars and bring thousands of new jobs to the area. On Jan. 7, SUNY Business and Education Cooperative of the Southern Tier (BEST) hosted 123rd District Assembywoman Donna Lupardo and Cornell entomology professor Jan Nyrop, who discussed the characteristics that make the Southern Tier well positioned for agricultural growth, including access to a reliable source of water, proximity to Cornell, and a growing interest in local, organic food. Learn more on TWC News.

CNN: Rules to Make School Lunches Healthier are Working, Study Finds
Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that stricter standards introduced in 2010 have improved the nutritional value of school meals. At three middle schools and two high schools, researchers found that calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, fiber, and protein levels had all increased in meals. Perhaps more importantly, the study found that plate waste and participation remained at virtually the same rate as before the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was implemented, quelling fears that students are not eating healthier options. Read more about the study on CNN.

House.gov: Pingree Introducing Landmark Legislation Aimed at Reducing Food Waste in Grocery Stores, Restaurants, Schools and Farms
Forty percent of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted every year, costing us $160 billion. Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has introduced legislation to reduce those numbers. The Food Recovery Act includes more than 20 provisions designed to reduce waste at the consumer, business and institutional levels, including a provision that would create federal expiration date standards, which do not currently exist. The bill will require manufacturers that put a date on their products to use the phrases “Best if used by” and “Manufacturer’s suggestion only.” Click through to the House website for more information on the bill.