Jan 11, 2013

Kid tested, schools approve

Food and Nutrition Services hosted the Sixth Annual Student Food Show with a different twist this year…parent participation. Parents joined OCPS high school, middle school, and elementary school students putting their taste buds to work by sampling and voting for potential new menu items for the 2013-2014 school year. More than 30 vendors participated serving more than 100 food items. The featured food items were breakfast, lunch, and snack items which bring a unique spin to school meals.
OCPS also showcased a new “Fresh Fruit and Vegetable” booth at the show. The fresh fruits and vegetables go through the same process of testing as other menu items. This allows the district to make sure the selected produce is what students want to eat. In addition, OCPS also makes a concerted effort to have gluten-free and vegetarian food items represented at the show.
“This was an exciting opportunity for parents to experience the first step in the process we go through to consider food items for the OCPS menu. They were able to see for themselves our new items, and how our menu is student-chosen and tested,” said Lora Gilbert, senior director of OCPS Food and Nutrition Services. “OCPS is one of the few districts in the country to require student taste testing for every menu item. Their approval is working; we have now doubled participation in the program in the last 10 years.”
OCPS Food and Nutrition Services serves more than 27 million meals and snacks each year. That equals approximately 157,000 breakfast and lunch meals daily. The department brings in more than $62 million in federal money to the school district and provides award-winning programs.