Stories about the updated school meal nutrition guidelines are everywhere this morning. Start, of course, with The Packer's coverage. Part of the cost savings that the USDA utilized with the new regulation is an "offer versus serve" distinction. Students will be offered the full portion but they can choose a smaller portion if they like. So the work of schools and their suppliers is to make fresh produce selections as tasty as possible. 

There is no way to know what form - fresh, canned or frozen - the increased fruit and vegetable purchases by schools will take. That market share number will certainly be an important gauge of industry engagement of the school foodservice sector in the next few years. It was not encouraging to see that a recent planned purchase of fresh cut apple slices was cancelled by the USDA because of a "technical" issue. Here's hoping the USDA gears up fresh produce purchases - particularly value-added fruits and veggies - for school feeding programs.

Several foodservice directors are interviewed in this piece by the Boston Herald. 

Nicole Stockdale of the Dallas Morning News answers the question "Are new school lunch rules just one more nanny-state overreaction? " and argues convincingly to the contrary.

Of course, policy wonks will check out the USDA resources on the school meal changes. Of particular interest to those folks is the 110-page final summary of public comments on the proposal.

Reports of note today: Union membership in the U.S.USDA unveils new plant hardiness zone map, USDA vegetables annual summary, North American potatoes, USDA FAS South China fruit marketsSuper Bowl "fun facts" from the Census Bureau.

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E-mail me at tkarst@thepacker.com