L. Rockwell; E. McDonnell, MS, RD; M. Michelman; C. Probart, PhD, RD, LD. Penn State University, Nutrition Department, University Park, PA 16802.
Based on Federal regulations, SFSDs need to document whether their menus meet nutrient standards.
In order to assess the status of changes in menus based on the regulations, a survey was administered to a group of 48 school food service employees who attended a training session on nutrient analysis software. The survey included questions about participant demographics, perception of reaching USDA nutrient standards for school meals, self-reported menu changes, and documentation practices. The majority of the participants in the session were School Food Service Directors (83.33%). Respondents were split in terms of educational level. Twenty had high school diplomas and twenty had Bachelors degrees. Most of the SFSDs reported that they had begun to make menu changes associated with USDA nutrient standards. Twenty-five percent reported they felt they met the standards, forty percent had started the process, and only four percent (two respondents) stated that they had not yet begun making changes. Almost 40% of SFSDs felt that their meals were not less than 30% fat. Seventeen percent felt that their meals averaged less than 30% fat. The remaining 43% felt that their meals were sometimes low in fat. Eighty-five percent of the SFSDs reported increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in their menus as a result of the new USDA regulations, and sixty-two percent felt that their menus were high in fruits and vegetables. Fifty-two percent had not analyzed the nutrient content of their menus; 48% had done so either by computer or manually. Most SFSDs (81%) are currently collecting nutrient information on the foods they are serving and most (73%) are requesting low fat foods from vendors. Most SFSDs in this sample are making changes to meet the USDA standards, and additional data about these changes will be presented along with conclusions.