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GSA to Provide Healthier Food Choices to Federal Employees

February 10, 2010

Contact:  Caren Auchman  (202) 525-8165
caren.auchman@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON - As part of President Obama’s commitment to improve wellness among federal employees, the U.S. General Services Administration is delivering healthier food choices and more sustainable, green cafeterias. The White House Offices of Management and Budget and Health Reform, working together with GSA, have created a new national template for food service requirements to provide healthier and more sustainable food options in federal dining facilities across the country.

Under a new GSA food service contract, the State Department’s Washington, DC, headquarters building will have one of the first dining facilities to use this template, providing its employees with healthier food choices and more sustainable cafeteria operations. By integrating a farmer’s market, the State Department facility will feature locally grown produce and market baskets, menu options that are prepared using healthy cooking techniques, and a nutrition education program that will help federal employees to make better food choices. I.L. Creations of Maryland, Inc. was awarded a contract to provide food service for the State Department’s approximately 6,500 employees and more than 1,000 visitors each day.

“This new template for food service requirements in federal cafeterias signals the commitment of the Obama Administration to improve the health and wellness of federal employees,” said Ezekiel Emanuel, the White House’s Special Advisor for Health Policy. “Providing healthier food options is an important piece of a governmentwide program aimed at helping federal employees recognize the importance of overall wellness and make healthier food choices.  We also wanted to use the purchasing power of the federal government to make it financially viable for the food and cafeteria suppliers and contractors to integrate more wellness, health, local sourcing, and environmental sustainability considerations in designing their food offerings for all customers.”

Working with the Department of Agriculture, GSA established nutritional requirements incorporating wellness factors into a national contract template. The new wellness factors and nutritional requirements include the use of healthy cooking techniques in food preparation to minimize trans fatty acids and added salt, menu variety to address special dietary needs, programs to educate patrons on product lines available and proper portion sizes, use of whole grains and other healthy food items, and use of technology and other services to promote wellness. Additionally, sustainable factors are also included encouraging use of locally and organically produced foods, purchasing of products made from renewable materials, encouraging the use of green cleaning products, and implementing responsible recycling and composting programs. 

"GSA is leading the way in sustainability by introducing a new national template for federal cafeterias that provides healthier food choices for the one million federal employees across the country," said Stephen R. Leeds, GSA Senior Sustainability Officer. "Through the new State Department contract and other food service contracts in federal buildings, GSA will help drive the market toward more sustainable, healthier, and locally-grown food options to provide a better workplace experience that government employees deserve."

GSA manages more than 350 federal cafeterias either under commercial contract or operated in conjunction with the Department of Education’s Randolph-Sheppard Act. The agency’s plan is to phase in the new criteria for healthier, sustainable options as current food service contracts expire and to aggressively approach opportunities to enhance services in current contracts where there is consumer demand and support from the vendor. 

As part of this wellness initiative, GSA is also committed to providing healthier food snacks in vending machines and sundry shops in federal buildings. During a recent pilot program at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, vending machines that featured healthier snacks and beverages showed that two-thirds of total sales come from the healthier options. This demonstrates that the federal workforce is seeking healthier food choices inside the workplace and that health and good business are not in conflict but go together. Through GSA’s strong partnership with the Department of Education’s Randolph-Sheppard program, the agency intends to capitalize on consumer demand by using this concept in buildings across the country.

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GSA provides a centralized delivery system of products and services to the federal government, leveraging its enormous buying power to get the best value for taxpayers.
• Founded in 1949, GSA manages more than 11 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars and $30 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.
• GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, as a steward of more than 480 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services.
• GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and E-Gov travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.

 


Healthier Food Choices