DC Public School Parents! It's Time to Weigh in on School Food.

Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, the District's school food vendor, has decided to move on from their contract with the city.  A surprise to DC but certainly not one without controversy.  The company recently agreed to pay $19 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit and has come under scrutiny over allegations of mismanagement.

As a result, DCPS’ Office of Food and Nutrition Services (OFNS) is seeking feedback from parents about the meals served at their child’s school. OFNS is writing a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to invite vendors to compete for a new contract to serve meals in DCPS schools, and their team needs parent feedback to inform how the upcoming solicitation can better meet the needs of DCPS schools and families.

Fill out this survey no later than September 30th. If you have any questions, please contact allison.daurora@dc.gov.

Some background:

In May 2010, the D.C. Council passed the Healthy Schools Act, a law designed to improve the health and wellness of students attending D.C. public and public charter schools. The Act took effect August 2010 and requires specific nutrition criteria be met.

The Act also provides funding for schools to meet the federal school nutrition requirements for school meals. To comply with Title II of the Healthy Schools Act, schools must:

Enhance nutrition of school meals by including more whole grains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, less fat, and less sodium.

Vegetables must be offered every day, and a different vegetable offered each day of the week.

Fruits must be offered every day; a different fruit must be offered each day of the week; fresh fruits must be available at least 2 days per week; only 100% juice only counts as a fruit serving only 1 time per week.

Milk must be offered every day, and only fat-free or low-fat milk must be offered.

Whole grains must be served at least once each day.

Breakfasts and lunches must contain limited saturated fat (fewer than 10% of calories), no trans fat, and sodium must be reduced gradually until 2020.

Schools are also encouraged to serve a vegetarian option each week.

In addition to the nutrition requirements, the Act also contains language that asks schools to expand access to school meals, solicit input from students, parents and staff, and post menus, ingredients, and food origins information in school offices and on school websites, improve nutrition of competitive foods and encourage locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

But the Act isn't perfect and not all vendors are poised to best meet these requirements.

So, parents, now is your chance to tell the city what you want your kids to eat at school.  Weigh in with healthy food likes, junk dislikes and ideas about how to make school meals healthy, fun and appealing for kids.