Labeling for School Lunch Program
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will bring you cutting edge news and information about how FSIS is working to ensure public
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Welcome. I'm Jeff White with FSIS. Today we'll be talking about child nutrition labeling and the
process for plant owners and managers to receive child nutrition labels on their products. With
me today is Mark Reo, a physical scientist in the FSIS Labeling and Program Delivery Division.
In addition to developing policies and inspection verification methods, this division administers
programs that ensure that product labels are truthful and not misleading. Labeling includes all
forms of product identification, health-related claims, net weight, species identification and nutrition.
Thank you, Jeff. It's a pleasure being here.
Mark, let's say that I run a small meat processing plant, and I'm interested
in selling my products to schools participating in child nutrition programs. Some of the schools that
I have contacted are requesting in their specifications that my products carry a child nutrition label.
What agency can I talk to about this program?
Well, Jeff, the Child Nutrition Labeling Program is a voluntary federal
program run by the Food and Nutrition Service - FNS - in cooperation
with FSIS, the Agricultural Marketing Service, and the
National Marine Fisheries Service. FNS works
directly with commercial food processing firms, such as yours, so your products can be labeled for
child nutrition program needs.
Okay. So how does this program work?
Upon application, FNS evaluates your product's formulation to determine its nutritional contribution
to school meals. You may then state this contribution on your label. The program also provides
a warranty to child nutrition programs that purchase products bearing the child nutrition label.
What types of products can receive child nutrition labels?
Main dish products which contribute to the meat component of the meal pattern requirements are eligible.
A few examples of meat and poultry products that are eligible may include beef patties, meat pizzas,
meat and bean burritos, egg rolls and chicken nuggets.
So, what are the specific requirements to carry this child nutrition label?
A product must be inspected by FSIS or by a state inspection program. In addition, the product's
nutritional contribution must have the contribution of meat products determined using yields set
forth in the USDA's Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs.
Where can I get a copy of this publication?
It's available on the FNS Web site at www.fns.usda.gov.
To locate the guide from the home page, use the left navigation area. Type in "Food Buying Guide" in the search area
and click on "Go." You may also receive assistance by calling (703) 305-2609.
Excellent! What are the advantages of having this child nutrition label on a product?
It offers greater potential for marketing to child nutrition programs. The label statement provides
assurance of accurate nutrition claims and clearly identifies the nutritional contribution of a
product toward the FNS meal pattern requirements.
Do products bearing the child nutrition label cost more than those products without one?
A child nutrition-labeled product may well cost a little more than similar non-child nutrition-labeled
products because of special labeling requirements, inspection costs, and additional quality controls.
Mark, you mentioned additional quality controls. Would you elaborate on that, please?
Yes. Child nutrition labeled products are required under FNS regulations to be produced under a
partial quality control program to monitor formulation control, raw and cooked weights and other
aspects of the formulation that affect the crediting of the product. Guidance for preparing quality
control programs that meet FNS requirements can be located online at www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/CNlabeling.
Or, for further assistance, call the Food and Nutrition Service at (703) 305-2609.
Well, that's useful information to know. Thank you very much, Mark, for your time today and for telling
us more about the Child Nutrition Labeling Program.
Well, that's all for this episode. We'd like your feedback on our podcast. Or if you
have ideas for future podcasts, send us an e-mail at email@example.com. To learn more
about food safety, try our web site at www.fsis.usda.govv.
Thanks for tuning in.