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In this Issue
May 2013

Asparagus Fever, Catch-it !

Best Practices- Handling Fresh Produce in Child Cares

Guidance Related to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act

NDFoods Communication

Nutrition & Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Point of Service Meal Counts

Searching Claim Payments

Seriously Deficient Determinations

Thinking of a daycare garden?

Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

 

Asparagus Fever, Catch-it !

Asparagus is a great vegetable for a variety of reasons.  It takes more calories to digest it than are actually found in it—some would say a vegetable of negative calories.  One of the oldest recorded vegetables in the world; it is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Asparagus comes in three varieties: 1) White, which is more delicate and is simply harvested before it hits the sun. 2) The purple variety is typically small and fruity.  3)The most notable, green asparagus has a tender crisp texture.   It is also a perennial plant that grows great in the North Dakota.  If the plants are gardened by a “green thumb” they could easily produce for years to come.  How great would it be to harvest asparagus with your daycare children and then eat them as a snack every spring?  Asparagus is great as a side dish with any main entrée, as a snack uncooked instead of your typical carrots and celery, in your favorite pasta salad, or just roll it up inside a slice of ham and cheese.  If you are feeling daring give this healthy spin on guacamole a try.

Asparamole
24 fresh asparagus spears
½ cup salsa
1T. fresh cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt, pepper, cumin to taste
Directions:

  1. In a large pan combine the asparagus with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until asparagus is tender but crisp, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Drain asparagus and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  4. In a food processor, zip the asparagus, salsa, cilantro, and garlic.
  5. Add scallions, lime juice and seasonings and pulse until chunky/smooth.
  6. Transfer to serving dishes.

*Use the Asparamole as a dip, for tacos, spread it on a sandwich, or just eat it by the spoonful.  It isn’t quite guacamole, and it doesn’t have the calories or fat content either!     

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Best Practices- Handling Fresh Produce in Child Cares

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Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Introducing children to them at a young age will improve their present and future health.  Fresh produce must be handled safely to reduce the risk of food borne illness. There are a number of steps that foodservice employees can take to minimize the chances for fruits and vegetables they handle to become contaminated. Best practices for handling all types of produce are described below:

Recommendations for handling fresh produce
 
Washing and Preparation

  • Inspect produce for obvious signs of soil or damage prior to cutting, slicing or dicing. When in doubt about damaged produce, either cut away the affected areas or do not use the item.
  • Wash produce before serving or cutting using either:
    • Continuous running water.
    • Chemical disinfectants, used according to the manufacture’s label instructions for recommended concentration and contact time. Note: do not soak produce or store in standing water.
  •  Do not rewash package produce labeled “ready-to-eat,””washed,”
     or “triple washed.”
  • Wash thoroughly with hot soapy water all equipment, utensils, and food contact surfaces that come into contact with cut produce. Rinse, sanitize, and air-dry before use.

Hand Hygiene

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling or cutting fresh produce. Rewash hands after breaks, visiting restrooms, sneezing ,coughing, handling trash or diaper changing, or anytime hands become soiled or otherwise contaminated.
  • Use a barrier such as gloves or an appropriate utensil to touch ready-to-eat produce. Note: this does not eliminate the need for frequent proper handwashing.
  • Always wash hands before putting on disposable gloves.
  • Change disposable gloves anytime the gloves may have been contaminated or when changing tasks.
  • Do not wash or reuse disposable gloves.
  • Change disposable gloves if they are torn or damaged.

Storage

  • Maintain produce at the temperature recommended for the variety and particular stage of ripeness.
  • Store produce at least 6 inches off the floor, including in walk- in refrigerators.
  • Store produce in a covered container and above other items that might cause contamination.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the product such as “keep refrigerated” or “best if used by.”
  • Wash produce just before preparations, not before storage.

Training and General Food Safety Practices

  • Teach the importance of food safety and proper handling of produce to all food handlers.
  • Practice good food safety and food handling techniques to prevent cross-contamination.

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Guidance Related to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act

The purpose of this memo is to provide sponsors participating in the Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) with additional clarifications on making dietary accommodations for children with disabilities.  The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 amended the Federal definition of disability, broadening it to cover additional individuals.  Because of this broader definition, it is reasonable that program operators may see more children identified by their licensed physician as having a food-related disability than were identified previously. 

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NDFoods Communication

Please be aware that a large amount of information about processes within NDFoods is communicated through the work queue on the NDFoods main page. It is suggested that you log into NDFoods a couple times a week to see if you have any messages.

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Nutrition & Wellness Tips for Young Children: Provider Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Need creative ideas for meal planning, shopping, and food preparation? Or fun suggestions for active play?

This handbook was developed by USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help CACFP child care providers create healthier environments for the children in their care. It includes a series of tip sheets addressing wellness recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education, 3rd Edition. Each tip sheet focuses on a specific topic and includes a practical application section to help providers apply the tips to their child care program. By using the tip sheets when planning meals and activities for children ages 2 through 5 years old, providers can incorporate key recommendations and best practices into their menus and daily schedules. 

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Point of Service Meal Counts

Meal counts for the CACFP program must be recorded at the time of the meal service. Center personnel must maintain a point- of- service meal count.  Each meal is recorded on the meal count record as the meal is served to each child, or within a very short period of time thereafter. Meals that are not recorded on the meal count records within the time-frame of the meal service may not be claimed for reimbursement. A total head count or head count by category is not sufficient. Meal counts may not be determined from attendance records.

Meal count records may also record the eligibility category (free, reduced, or paid) of the child. Care should be taken to assure there is no overt discrimination in the classification and identification of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  Centers that record eligibility classifications on the meal count records should use a code to distinguish between the free, paid and reduced-price.

During a program review, fiscal action may be taken if the meal count system yields incorrect meal counts.

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Searching Claim Payments

A document has been added to the NDFoods HELP documents for sponsors to retrieve their payment information. On the Child Nutrition home web page; click on the ‘NDFoods Help Documents’ link (under the NDFoods icon). The process is listed under the ‘Claims for Reimbursement’ section.  Click on the Help icon on the Search Claim Payments line ----If you have any questions, please contact Carla at 328-2319.   

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Seriously Deficient Determinations

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established procedures for the state agency (SA) to follow when they discover serious instances of non-compliance with CACFP regulations. These types of findings are known as serious deficiencies (SDs). The institution participating in CACFP may be declared SD if the SA reviewer encounters several areas of non-compliance, or when findings are serious or repeated.

Institutions always have the opportunity to address SD findings the first time they are discovered and are allowed a set timeline to make corrections.  If an SD is fully corrected, it may be deferred. The next state agency review must be conducted ahead of schedule. Unannounced reviews may be conducted to verify that the corrective action fully corrects the SD finding(s). If the same SD finding recurs in the future, the institution may be terminated from CACFP participation without further opportunity for corrective action.

Termination means that the names of the institution and individual(s) will be placed on the National Disqualified List (NDL). Termination from CACFP participation is for seven (7) years. However, if the institution or individual has failed to repay debts owed under the program, they will remain on the NDL until the debt has been repaid.

The following are examples of noncompliance that could generally be described as SDs findings:

  • Required CACFP records are not maintained;
  • A substantial number of meals do not meet meal pattern requirements;
  • The institution is not financially viable, administratively capable or accountable;
  • False information about your institution or operation is submitted to the state agency;
  • Reimbursement is claimed for meals not served to participants;
  • A previously identified non-complaint activity occurs again.

The goal of the state agency is to help you operate a successful CACFP so children and communities are served. We are also responsible to enforce compliance with regulations. Please contact your state agency if you have question to help you be in full compliance with CACFP reguirements.

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Thinking of a daycare garden?

What better way to enjoy the warmer weather than learning about foods by gardening.  Below is a link to Grow it, Try it, Like it, a garden- themed nutrition education kit for child care center staff.  This resource introduces children to three fruits - peaches, strawberries, and cantaloupe, and three vegetables - spinach, sweet potatoes, and crookneck squash.

The kit includes seven booklets, which feature the three fruits and vegetables with fun activities through the imaginary garden at Tasty Acres Farm. It also has a CD-ROM with supplemental information and a DVD with Cool Puppy Pup's Picnic and Lunch Parties.

Each set of lessons in the six fruit or vegetable booklets contains: hands-on activities, planting activities, and nutrition education activities that introduce MyPyramid for Preschoolers. Use the kit to promote learning at home with fun parent/child activities and family-sized recipes that give tips for cooking with children.

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Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

What are healthy food choices? What is a balanced diet?
Serving Up MyPlate
is a new collection of classroom materials that helps elementary school teachers integrate nutrition education into math, science, English Language Arts, and health. This yummy curriculum introduces the importance of eating from all five food groups using the MyPlate icon and a variety of hands–on activities. Students also learn the importance of physical activity to staying healthy.

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North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440
701/328-2260

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