School Nutrition Meets the People Behind Beef
Article via PBC
On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, school nutrition professionals in Pennsylvania had the chance to meet folks across the beef community who play a role in creating wholesome and delicious beef meals, through the School Nutrition Association of PA’s Annual Conference. The conference drew a crowd of nearly 300 school foodservice directors and line staff, responsible for the purchasing and menuing decisions for more than 500 school districts within Pennsylvania.
We heard that beef meals are a favorite on school lunch menus across Pennsylvania and we encouraged attendees to learn more about beef at the conference. The Pennsylvania Beef Council (PBC) and the Beef Checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) are a year-long sponsor with the association, which enables beef to be a resource and exhibit at their annual meeting. This year, foodservice directors had the opportunity to attend the speaking session titled “Meet the People Behind Beef,” an interactive discussion session highlighting beef’s nutrient density and facilitated a question and answer segment with a local beef producer, veterinarian and meat scientist.
Karen Buch, RDN, LDN of Nutrition Connection, LLC hosted the session explaining various beef cuts and recipes best suited for school lunch menus, along with beef’s nutrition profile. The session was then opened up in a panel-style discussion, where attendees could candidly ask how today’s beef is raised and cared for in Pennsylvania. Panelists included Dustin Heeter, owner and operator of his family’s cow-calf operation, Heritage Hill Farms in Clarksburg, PA, Andrew Stas, VMD of Lakeview Animal Clinic and Dr. Jonathan Campbell a Meat Extension Specialist at Penn State University.
The session had rave reviews in regard to the speaker, panelists and session topics. A lot of great information was shared ranging from beef’s nutrient profile, sourcing beef for schools to types of beef products on the market and the care farmers take to raising a safe and wholesome product. Dimitra Barrios, Director of Foodservice at Chichester School District commented, “Understanding more about where our beef comes from is essential in being able to communicate the benefits to our K-12 market”. Afterwards, all attendees polled had a positive perception of beef.
Following the session, attendees were encouraged to visit the beef booth at the association’s annual food show. There directors and line staff could try a sample of Wrangler’s Beef Chili, one of the recipes part of the “Kid-Friendly Foodservice” recipe bar that was displaying the ease and diversity ground beef can play in school lunches. Staff also provided additional resources and information highlighting the benefits of keeping beef on the school lunch menu. At the booth, attendees could enter win an Instant Pot and beef swag through an on-site survey. Of those completing the survey, 84% said they are more likely to continue serving beef in their school lunch rooms and 90% had a positive perception of beef. Engaging with school nutrition professionals enables the checkoff to keep beef menu options top of mind year-round with delicious student-approved ground beef recipes.
For more information about this event, visit the PBC’s Facebook page.
Media Contact: Jennifer Orr; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Beef Checkoff program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.