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The Feds and their food options

By Ed O'Keefe

Since The Eye plans to eat lunch Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan Building's food court, an Atlantic Food Channel blog entry caught his attention.

Helene York, director of strategic initiatives for Bon Appetit Management Company, writes about some of the unhealthy food options at Washington's federal buildings, including:

A station that defines global food as pasta that is prepared in a pan with your choice of bits of meats and sauces without flavor. The pasta is pre-cooked and piled in an open vat whose capacity rivals my refrigerator's.
A salad bar with cottage cheese, black olive slices, and pineapple chunks in syrup. Despite the map of local farms on a nearby wall, most everything here came out of a can or was previously frozen and thawed.
A comfort food station where you can use an ice cream scoop to serve yourself barbequed meat hiding in various brown sauces, any number of starches, and soggy collards -- one of the very few green options but they're so overcrooked as not to be really green in color anymore.

York's blunt critique signals that her company does not provide the services at the federal building she describes. She's heartened however by "senior members of the Obama administration" working to improve federal cafeterias. A group of food experts met with officials last week and shared some "best practices" for food service:

Focus on food (fresh and cooked from scratch whenever possible); focus on people (making chefs and servers accountable for the food they offer); and use the federal cafeterias as teaching tools just as the White House and people's garden are. Tens of thousands of public servants eat in these cafeterias daily, many of whom help set food and land use policies for the nation. Surely they need their imaginations stoked as well as having their caloric intake satisfied (or over-satisfied, in the case of beverages).

So how are the food options at or near your federal building? What would you keep or change?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 20, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  FY-Eye, Workplace Issues  
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I work across from RR. I won't eat there or at the Old Post Office. Our options are disgusting.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | October 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

This is innovative thinking and, if implemented successfully, will do wonders for our communal hope to take control and better our lives within the new parameters of a planet in peril. Eating raw or organic and local foods and composting properly will help the Feds lead the way in helping us help ourselves.

Posted by: c0ncerned | October 20, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

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