The United States Department of Agriculture will publish a proposed rule tomorrow in the Federal Register that revises meal patterns and nutritional requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program in an effort to align them with the 2005 “Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” as required by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.

The proposed changes are based on recommendations from the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine in the report “School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children.”

This proposed rule would increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat fluid milk in school meals and reduce the levels of sodium (less than 1500 mg per day) and saturated fat (less than 7 percent of total calories) in meals.

Written comments will be considered for 90 days after publication and may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at or by mail to Julie Brewer, Chief, Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 640, Alexandria, Virginia 22302-1594.

To view the proposed rule, click here:

Source: AMI

Delmarva Poultry highlights area processor accomplishments

Delmarva Poultry Inc. has released its year-end status report, noting that 2010 was a positive one for the area’s chicken industry, Among the highlights noted in the report, reports WBOC News:
• Perdue Farms will undergo a $12.8 million renovation, and its Agribusiness branch will build an office in Seaford, Del., to support the division’s growth. That facility will house about 150 current and future employees.
• Amick, the first entirely new company to raise and produce chickens since 1988, will upgrade its complex in Hurlock, Md. The company is originally from South Carolina.
• Tyson Foods will expand its Temperanceville, Va., poultry plant and is looking for an additional 125 farm-owned chicken houses to supply the plant.
• Mountaire Farms had one of the most profitable years in company history and will invest $34.5 million into a rendering and resource recovery plant. The new facility will create 310 jobs during construction and 30 permanent jobs afterwards.

Paul Downes, president of Mountaire Farms, said his company’s past year was great but there is one challenge facing everyone in the industry.

"Mountaire uses about 900,000 bushels of corn a week. If corn goes up $1 a bushel, our costs go up $900,000 a week," Downes said. "The cost for our industry has gone up in the past two years to about $2 a bushel."

Downes said high-priced ethanol, corn, and soybean make it much more expensive to produce chickens. Delmarva Poultry said the biggest cost in producing the birds is feeding them.

Another challenge for the industry is that America's two largest chicken export nations, China and Russia has not bought as much chicken this year. Sales from other nations have helped fill that void, but 2010 American exports as expected to be down compared to 2009. Despite the hurdles, Delmarva's chicken industry supports the economy on Delmarva. There have been no major layoffs or plant closings.

Source: WBOC

Restaurants adding more lo-cal options

Restaurants are adding more lower-calorie dishes to their menus, in response to consumers needing help keeping to their New Year resolutions. Nation’s Restaurant News reports that More than 70 percent of customers said they find it more difficult to keep New Year’s food resolutions when dining out than at home, according to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill.

Applebee’s has since added two more dishes to its under-550 calorie menu, a 7-ounce Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp and Teriyaki Pasta with chicken or shrimp.

"Our guests want more choices and they don't want to sacrifice flavor or portion size," said Mike Archer, president of Lenexa, Kan.-based Applebee's Services Inc., which has more than 2,000 units worldwide.

Dunkin’ Donuts has also added two new varieties to its Wake-Up Wraps line, including an egg-white turkey sausage version. Corner Bakery has extended its “100 Under 600” program, featuring more than 100 combinations of sandwiches, paninis, salads or soups at less than 600 calories. Bob Evans Restaurants has expanded its “Fit from the Farm” menu, which includes dishes with fewer than 650 calories and 750 milligrams of sodium and lower fat.

“It’s no secret that more nutritious menu items in restaurants have been in high demand recently by both the general public and the government,” said Tom Marchese, vice president of marketing for Bob Evans Restaurants.

Source: Nation’s Restaurant News