The purchasing of all products used in the School Nutrition Program is regulated by federal guidelines. The products are competitively bid to help ensure that the products used are of the best quality and price available to us and that we receive quality service from our vendors.
Guilford County Schools is a member of the North Carolina Child Nutrition Procurement Alliance, which provides a joint bid document for all members. This helps ensure that we get the best prices possible based on volume discounts. Currently approximately 80% of the state’s school districts participate.
Food manufacturers must meet federal grading standards and practices. Products meet federal standards and are safe and wholesome.
Distributors must have a safety/security plan in place to prevent food from being contaminated or tampered with.
Product specifications include factors such as quality grade, size, growing location, ingredients, allergens and nutritional factors for fat, sodium, etc.
Foods purchased for the School Nutrition Programs must be of U.S. domestic origin unless the product cannot be sourced in the U.S. or if the price is too high for domestic purchase. The imported foods that we are currently purchasing when domestic isn’t available are canned fruit (peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges, mixed fruit), canned and frozen vegetables (carrots and broccoli) . The U.S. has been experiencing a shortage of canned fruit for a few years and it is expected to worsen in the next year.
Certain fresh produce items are imported when they are out of season in the U.S. such as grapes, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, cucumbers, onions, blueberries and bananas.
Guilford County Schools is committed to the environment. That includes School Nutrition Services.
SaniTech uses portion-controlled packaging and concentrated chemicals. That reduces shipping costs and saves fuel by not having to ship water in bulk containers of premixed chemicals. The packaging also reduces the amount of waste going into the landfill.
Cardboard, tin cans and plastic bottles from the kitchen are recycled.
"Why does School Nutrition use styrofoam trays?" is a question we are often asked. There are several reasons for using styrofoam trays right now, while we continue to search for affordable dinnerware.