Professional standards released for food service staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a final rule establishing national professional standards for all school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

The new standards are a key provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and require a minimum amount of annual training hours for all new and current school nutrition directors, managers and staff.  Required topic areas will vary according to position and job requirements.

The Maine DOE’s  Child Nutrition Services Team currently offer several training opportunities to help food service staff meet the new requirements. Training opportunities can be found on the Maine DOE professional development calendar at http://www.maine.gov/doe/calendar/.

In addition, new school nutrition program directors will have to meet hiring standards. The final rule establishes reasonable, minimum hiring standards for school nutrition directors based on district size.  School staff currently completing these functions are grandfathered.  This rule is for new staff and becomes effective beginning July 1.

For more information or technical assistance related to the new federal requirements, please contact Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Specialist Walter Beesley at walter.beesley@maine.gov or 624-6843.

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