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The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is extending the public comment period on the proposed rule, “Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent With the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

5 things: USDA extends child nutrition public comment period

This and University of Michigan spending close to $100,000 annually to replace lost dinnerware and flatware are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

1.    USDA extends child nutrition public comment period

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is extending the public comment period on the proposed rule, “Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent With the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” which published in the Federal Register on Feb. 7, 2023. This action extends the public comment period from April 10, 2023, to May 10, 2023, to give the public additional time to review the proposed rule.

Read more: Extension of Comment Period - CNP Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020 DGAs

2.    University of Michigan spends close to $100K to replace lost servingware

The University of Michigan now spends "close to $100,000 to replenish lost dinnerware and flatware, though our manufacturer replaces any broken or chipped dishware through a warranty program,” according to MDining Senior Associate Director Susan Cramer. “Over the course of an average academic year, MDining replaces (approximately) 22,000 pieces of flatware and dinnerware, which includes a combined 11,000 forks, knives and spoons; 4,000 plates; 5,000 bowls and 2,000 cups,” she notes.

Read more: Silver-where?: Why are UMich students stealing dishes from campus dining halls?

3.    Whitsons expands plant-based K-12 dining commitment

Following the successful launch last year of the Veggabóls 100% plant-based K-12 concept, FM Top 50 firm Whitsons Culinary Group has taken steps to increase its sustainability goal. "Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, our schools will be required to menu one plant-based meal out of every four meals offered, and beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, we plan to increase this requirement to one plant-based meal out of every three meals offered on the menu,” said Mary DiStefano, director of marketing and brand management. Through collaboration with the Humane Society of the US, they will also be developing new recipes to add to the concept, as well as converting many of their vegetarian options to be fully plant-based.

Read more: Whitsons Culinary Group increases sustainability goal for greater environmental impact

4.    Michigan State offers special packaged meals for Ramadan

Michigan State University is making special accommodations for Muslim students observing the holy month of Ramadan, which requires them to abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset, a time frame outside of regular dining hours on campus. Four on-campus dining halls will offer pre-packaged breakfast and dinner selections through the end of Ramadan on April 20.

Read more: MSU introduces Ramadan dining options

5.    Major firms among those ditching fully remote work this year

As the dust settles from COVID-19, business leaders around the globe have been faced with a very difficult decision—continue with remote work, get employees back to the office, or a hybrid solution—a policy determination with major impact on their office support service providers, especially corporate dining programs. Among companies ditching fully remote work in 2023 are mega firms like Disney, Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, General Motors and United Parcel Service, indicating a possible trend toward requiring more onsite workplace attendance, and thus more customers for business dining.

Read more: Companies That Have Ended Fully Remote Work in 2023

Bonus: Teaching Kitchen sessions build community, promote culinary knowledge at UT Arlington

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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