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USDA Proposes Professional Standards in National School Lunch, Breakfast Programs; Announces New Progress in Implementing Meal Standards

Today, USDA proposed the establishment of minimum national professional standards and training requirements for school nutrition professionals who manage and operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

The standards, another key provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), aim to institute education and certification standards for school nutrition professionals. These new standards will ensure that school nutrition personnel have the training and tools they need to plan, prepare and purchase healthy products to create nutritious, safe and enjoyable school meals.

As a former school nutrition director I can tell you that school nutrition professionals across the country are pleased with the new meal patterns established by the HHFKA, which requires schools to prepare healthier meals for 32 million children each day. Schools are at the forefront of national efforts to improve nutrition and reduce obesity in our Nation’s children. Read more »

USDA Funded Apartment Complex Not Just “Renovated” but “Innovated”

A newly renovated senior housing facility in Arizona, funded in part by USDA Rural Development. (Photo used with permission)

A newly renovated senior housing facility in Arizona, funded in part by USDA Rural Development. (Photo used with permission)

Aesthetically the change is obvious and pleasing, but what hides inside the walls and under the ground is what is making the big difference at Kachina Apartments in Casa Grande, Arizona.

The 96-unit senior complex recently underwent a major rehabilitation that not only renovated the individual units but took dramatic steps to reduce water usage and the carbon footprint as well.

The rehabilitation project was a joint effort using low-income housing tax credits, State Housing Funds (HOME), and USDA Rural Development’s multi-family housing program. General contractors for the project were Precision General Commercial Contractors, Inc. Read more »

At the U.S. Forest Service, Climate Change is Going 3D

The NASA Hyperwall, a huge monitor connected to the agency’s climate super computer will be used in assessing data from the GPM Core Observatory. (U.S. Forest Service/Robert Hudson Westover)

The NASA Hyperwall, a huge monitor connected to the agency’s climate super computer will be used in assessing data from the GPM Core Observatory. (U.S. Forest Service/Robert Hudson Westover)

Understanding the effects of global climate change, especially the amount of precipitation contained in clouds, has been limited by the use of decades-old satellite technology. But now a soon-to-be launched NASA satellite, the GPM Core Observatory, will literally add another dimension to seeing into the complexity of clouds and the precipitation they may or may not contain.

“The new GPM satellite will give scientists much clearer and more concise data on rainfall estimates with more continuous areal coverage giving us a three-dimensional visual understanding of the effects climate change is having on the planet as far precipitation is concerned,” said Dave Cleaves, the Forest Service’s Climate Change Advisor. Read more »

‘Primera Jugada’ – Puntos de Alimentos Inocuos para su Fiesta del Super Bowl

Para poder ganar el partido, las jugadas tienen que ocurrir sin infracciones. Además, el domingo del Super Bowl es el segundo día más alto del consumo de alimentos en los Estados Unidos. Esto quiere decir que el anfitrión e invitados tienen que tener sus defensas listas para prevenir que la intoxicación alimentaria no marque puntos contra su equipo.

Este año asegure que las fiestas del Super Bowl sean recordadas por los buenos tiempos y no con excusas de no haber dado tu equipo la mejor oportunidad de ganar la lucha contra la intoxicación alimentaria. Read more »

First Down Food Safety Tips for your Super Bowl Party

In order to win the game, the first downs have to keep coming without the penalties. Super Bowl Sunday will be a long day of first downs and a long day of eating! It’s the second highest day of food consumption in the U.S., and that means hosts and guests need to have their defense ready to keep foodborne illness from scoring on the party.

Super Bowl parties should be remembered for a great time and not the place where the food made you sick. We’re offering fans some important game day tips to keep the party free of food safety penalties. Read more »

Healthy Food Choices – How do We Get There? Find out During Livestreaming Panel Discussion Feb. 21

USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum: The Changing Face of Agriculture logo

USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum: The Changing Face of Agriculture logo

Organic, conventional, locally grown and natural – these are all terms consumers hear every day, but do they really understand their meaning? Are consumers making informed purchasing decisions or are they simply making food decisions based on what they hear in popular culture and media?

On Friday, February 21, 2014, join a group of farmers and ranchers, nutritionists and food pundits for a discussion on food production, nutrition and making healthy food choices.  Part of the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum and hosted by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®), the in-person and live-streamed Food Dialogues® event “Nutrition: Who’s Shaping America’s Eating Habits?” looks at important issues for consumers and producers. Read more »