Strategize and Act

Put Food Service Guidelines into Organizational Policies and Food Vendor Contracts

Using Healthier Procurement and Food Service Practices to Accelerate Equity Goals


Approaching the adoption of healthy food service guidelines with an equity lens can help address disparities among different populations. To promote health equity consider including the following strategies in any food service guideline policy:

  • Ensure access to healthier options for workers on different shifts.
  • Include healthier foods that are culturally diverse.
  • Survey consumers to find out what healthier products they want to buy.
  • Provide alternatives to vending machines, such as free, clean water (filtered if necessary) and refrigerators where people can store healthier prepared meals and snacks from home.

An organization’s policies and practices can make healthy behaviors easier for individuals. Internal policies can reinforce a culture of health and support healthy eating and physical activity. These policies may have the added benefit of increasing worker productivity, improving employee morale, and generating cost savings associated with better employee health outcomes.

Embedding your nutrition standards and behavioral design requirements into organizational policies can increase the availability and selection of healthier food and beverage options. For example, you can work with large employers to amend a contractual agreement with its onsite vendor and require healthier menu options be available, placed at eye level, promoted with innovative marketing techniques, and priced competitively. These factors can play an important role in sustaining healthier menu offerings.

You can include food service guidelines standards and behavioral design strategies in a variety of different organizational policies. For example:

  • Workplace wellness programs and policies
  • Request for Bids or Request for Proposals (RFB or RFP)
  • Contract stipulations and Scope of Work (SOW) requirements
  • Vending permits
  • Bulk food purchasing agreements

In addition, some communities and states have adopted local ordinances, state laws, and executive orders requiring government worksites to follow healthier food service guidelines.

Using Healthier Procurement and Food Service Practices to Accelerate Equity Goals


Approaching the adoption of healthy food service guidelines with an equity lens can help address disparities among different populations. To promote health equity consider including the following strategies in any food service guideline policy:

  • Ensure access to healthier options for workers on different shifts.
  • Include healthier foods that are culturally diverse.
  • Survey consumers to find out what healthier products they want to buy.
  • Provide alternatives to vending machines, such as free, clean water (filtered if necessary) and refrigerators where people can store healthier prepared meals and snacks from home.


Food Service Guidelines Policy Framework

CDC’s Food Service Guidelines (FSG) Policy Wheel defines seven core elements of a comprehensive FSG policy. The term “FSG policy” can include a variety of formal written agreements that seek to prioritize good nutrition and health within any food service operation.

Click on any plus sign below to see sample language for vendor contracts, purchasing agreements, or organizational policies. The sample language is for illustrative purposes only and is just one example of what a strong FSG policy may include.

Nutrition

The nutrition standards the vendor is expected to meet should be clearly stated in the food service guidelines policy or written agreement. Standards should be based on the most current nutrition science and operationalized for use in a food service environment. This allows a vendor to properly plan, purchase, and prepare heathier menu offerings in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Sample language that incorporates nutrition standards for food service guidelines is below but does not include all of the standards in the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities pdf icon[PDF-3.34MB].  See Table 1 and Table 3 for the full list of standards for prepared foods and beverages, respectively.

Return to FSG Policy Framework

Behavioral Design

These promotional strategies use pricing, placement, and marketing strategies to increase the purchase and consumption of healthier menu offerings. Using any combination of these standards may help make the vendor more successful in launching a healthier food service operation at your organization and may increase chances of remaining financially sustainable over time.

Sample language that incorporates behavioral design standards for food service guideline is below. This is for illustrative purposes only.


Return to FSG Policy Framework

Facility Efficiency

Including facility efficiency standards in any food service guidelines policy will reduce a building’s overall environmental impact by improving energy efficiency, conserving natural resources, and observing waste diversion best practices at all onsite food service venues. These standards can also support the surrounding community through local sourcing of produce and products from regional growers and food manufacturers.

Sample language that incorporates facility efficiency standards for food service guidelines is below but does not include all of the standards in the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities pdf icon[PDF-3.34MB].  See Table 4 for the full list of facility efficiency standards.


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Food Safety

Including specific food safety standards in your food service guidelines policy will ensure all onsite food vendors follow applicable state, local, and tribal food safety regulations. In addition, these standards also name managerial practices, employee behaviors, and food preparation practices that go beyond what is described in the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code and can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks that are sometimes common in food service operations.

Sample language that incorporates food safety standards for food service guideline is below. This is for illustrative purposes only.

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Compliance

A successful partnership with a food vendor requires a collaborative working relationship and ongoing monitoring of the implementation of healthier food service guidelines. Including compliance checks in your policy, contract, or written agreement establishes a systematic method for assessing whether the contracted vendor is meeting agreed upon requirements. A schedule of routine compliance checks should be established with the vendor upfront. You may also want to consider setting up periodic food environment audits to assess the vendor’s adherence in real time. Routine compliance checks have the added benefit of providing the vendor with an opportunity to identify any challenges or barriers they are experiencing and to improve implementation through mutually agreed upon changes.

Sample language that incorporates compliance standards for food service guidelines is below. This is for illustrative purposes only.


Return to FSG Policy Framework

Vendor Reporting

Naming the specific data or metrics you want the vendor to report is an important element to include in any healthier food service policy, contract, or written agreement. Communicating reporting requirements upfront ensures the vendor understands what metrics will be used to assess institutional changes over time. You also have the added benefit of using standardized metrics to help communicate the impact of your healthier food service initiative. Although vendor reports may be used to assess compliance, their utility is much broader in scope. Vendor reporting generally contains information about overall operations, number of trainings, new food service staff, gross sales and profit margins, and comparisons between sales of healthy and less healthy foods. Beyond just monitoring compliance, vendor reporting can provide metrics that will help you evaluate and communicate the overall impact (positive or negative) of your organization’s food service guidelines initiative to institutional leadership, partners, and champions.

Sample language that includes vendor reporting requirements for food service guidelines is below. This is for illustrative purposes only.


Return to FSG Policy Framework

Roles & Responsibilities

In any policy it is important to clearly identify the individuals responsible for carrying out the specific activities and objectives of the policy. This includes naming the responsible parties who will play a significant role in the implementation or monitoring and evaluation of the policy’s impact.

Sample language that includes roles and responsibilities standards for food service guidelines is below. This is for illustrative purposes only.


Return to FSG Policy Framework

Resources

CDC’s food service guidelines policy, Food Service Guidelines in CDC-owned or -operated Dining and Vending Facilities pdf icon[PDF-290KB], helps to create a healthier food environment at CDC and supports the health and well-being of its employees.

Two publications highlight CDC’s state- and local-level surveillance of food service guidelines policies over time. See the state-levelexternal icon food service guidelines policy publication the local-levelexternal icon publication.