Placer Opts to Shift Inmate Food Service to Private Contractor

Source: Robert Miller, County of Placer  |  2017-03-07

After much deliberation and discussion, the Placer County Board of Supervisors today awarded a contract to an outside vendor to provide food service to county inmates and juvenile offenders. The vote was split, 3-2, with supervisors Uhler, Duran and Weygandt in support and supervisors Holmes and Montgomery opposed.

The five-year, $13.2 million contract with Aramark Correctional Services will take effect May 1. The service will provide meals at three county adult detention facilities that house about 750 inmates and to the juvenile detention facility that holds approximately 20 minors. In addition, the county provides meals to homebound seniors through an agreement with Seniors First.

Food service staff met with the county executive office and probation to discuss suggestions from correctional food service, identifying possible cost savings that they could implement to reduce costs. The potential savings were validated by probation staff. However, Aramark may also be able to implement those cost savings to lower their costs.

Potential savings over five years is estimated at $3 million. The switch to an outside vendor will affect 12 county positions. Aramark has assured the county that all county employees interested in working with the contractor will be interviewed. The county will augment the Aramark contract by $136,000 to bridge the salary gap until staff would be expected to reach comparable salary within the Aramark organization, and to ensure a smooth transition to the new contractor.

“The difficulty here is we are dealing with taxpayer dollars. We have to be very circumspect of every dollar that comes in and how we spend it.” said District 1 Supervisor Jack Duran. “It’s tough, but I think we have to look at this opportunity - as much as I don’t want to do that knowing that it’s going to impact families in Placer County, I think this is something we need to look at.”

“I see that what we are trying to do is save some taxpayer dollars, but the transition to Aramark has too many uncertainties to me,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes, who voted against the contract. “County staff is very organized and has a great ability to provide these services with care. At this point I would just as soon stay with county staff.”

Staff who do not transition to Aramark will receive assistance from the county’s Human Resources department and Business Advantage Network, which will provide training and assist county employees in identifying other job opportunities.

In early 2016, the county issued a request for proposals to evaluate other service delivery options. Additionally, oversight of the correctional food service function will move to the county’s Department of Public Works and Facilities.

In July 2016, staff presented the board the initial proposal results that identified Aramark as top ranked. The board asked for additional information on employee layoff options and staff then returned in November. At that meeting, the board heard from affected employees and directed staff to develop an approach to ease the transition for county staff.

CDPH Offers Food Safety Tips for the Holidays

Source: California Department of Public Health  |  2016-12-01

With the holiday season approaching, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds consumers to use safe food preparation and storage measures to prevent foodborne illness. Bacteria that can be found in foods such as meat and poultry may cause illness if they are insufficiently cooked, inadequately cooled or improperly handled.

“We can help ensure that foodborne illnesses don’t ruin our holidays by properly preparing and handling meat, poultry and other foods,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

About 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are related to foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Foodborne diseases can be prevented by: washing hands with soap and warm water before and after food preparation, and especially after handling raw foods; cleaning all work surfaces, utensils and dishes with hot soapy water and rinsing them with hot water after each use; cooking food thoroughly and refrigerating adequately between meals.

Symptoms of foodborne disease can include diarrhea, which may be bloody, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever. Most infected people recover from foodborne illnesses within a week. Some, however, may develop complications that require hospitalization. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for potentially life-threatening complications.

Additional information about food safety is available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Consumers can also access the national Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Fight BAC! Website www.cdph.ca.gov

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Thunder Valley Casino Resort Launches Record-Breaking Holiday Food Drive at Upcoming Food Truck Extravaganza

Source: Lily Lopez, Thunder Valley Casino Resort  |  2016-10-06

WHAT:    Thunder Valley Casino Resort and Sacramento Mobile Food (SactoMoFo) have teamed up to host a Food Truck Extravaganza on Saturday, October 8 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Thunder Valley’s Outdoor Amphitheater.

At the event, Thunder Valley will be launching its annual record-breaking food drive to benefit the Placer Food Bank. Guests who bring 5 canned food items to the event will receive $5 in MoFo bucks to spend at any participating food truck. Collection barrels for additional canned food items will also be located throughout the venue. All donations will directly benefit Placer Food Bank.

“Thunder Valley is excited to offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy a myriad of great local food options while also supporting the Placer Food Bank,” said Dawn Clayton, General Manager of Thunder Valley Casino Resort. “Our goal is to break last year’s record by collecting over 50,000 pounds of food and non-perishable items this holiday season.”

Thunder Valley’s food drive will run from October 8 to late December. Collection barrels will be located on property at Thunder Valley and at Whitney Oaks Golf Club.  Cash donations can also be made at Thunder Valley’s Casino Cashier Cage or online at www.placerfoodbank.org.

The Food Truck Extravaganza will feature the food trucks An Honest Pie, Bacon Mania, Buckhorn Grill, Cowtown Creamery, Flavor Face, Green Papaya, Hefty Gyros, La Mex Taqueria, Rudy’s on the Roll and Wandering Boba, among others. In addition to delicious food, the evening will also include live music, entertainment and local wineries.

This event is 21+, 13-20 years old may attend if accompanied by an adult.

WHEN:    Saturday, October 8, 2015
                4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

WHERE:  Thunder Valley Casino Resort
                1200 Athens Avenue
                Lincoln, CA 95648

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Gov. Brown Approves $5M for California Nutrition Incentives Act

Source: Ecology Center  |  2016-07-13

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

After three years of tireless advocacy, the healthy food incentive program Market Match got a boost yesterday as Governor Jerry Brown approved a state budget that includes $5 million for the California Nutrition Incentives Act. The Act is modeled after Market Match, which is increasing access to fresh produce among Californians who are struggling to feed their families, while giving an economic boost to the state’s embattled farm communities.

The $5 million in state funds will attract federal matching dollars through the USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program (FINI) and double the impact of the state’s investment.

A broad coalition of over 200 non-profit organizations and individuals including Roots of Change, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, American Heart Association, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Hunger Action Los Angeles and the Ecology Center, which administers Market Match statewide, worked over a three-year period to secure the funding. In 2014, the coalition’s first attempt didn’t make it out of the appropriations committee. Last year, the legislature passed the California Nutrition Incentives Act, which Gov. Brown signed, but he then axed the $2.5 million in funding that the legislature proposed for the program.

“With this funding, the state of California has put its money where its mouth is in terms of supporting healthy eating for low-income families,” says Ecology Center Executive Director Martin Bourque. “The demand for Market Match has consistently outstripped the supply of funds. The additional $5 million will allow us to expand the program towards our goal of offering Market Match at every farmers’ market in the state,” he said.

Established in 2009, by Roots of Change, Market Match works by providing CalFresh customers with matching funds when they spend their CalFresh benefits (i.e. food stamps) on fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets. So a shopper who spends $10 of CalFresh benefits at the farmers’ market gets an extra $10 to spend on fresh produce. Participants in the program, both small farmers and low-income shoppers, strongly support the program.

Among low-income customers, 70% report that they are buying more fruits and vegetable, and nearly 80% report that their family's health has improved. 81% of farmers report increased sales and 74% report increased income, thanks to Market Match.

Founded in 1969, the Ecology Center is a nonprofit organization located in Berkeley, California that is actively working to create and promote an alternative food system based on the values of environmental protection, justice, and access to healthy, sustainably produced food for all.

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Recalls Made on Protein Drinks from Sacramento Facility Due to Premature Spoilage

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration  |  2016-07-06

Special Health Release

Out of an abundance of caution and with an emphasis on its customers' wellness and safety, HP Hood LLC is voluntarily recalling certain code dates of protein drinks from its Sacramento, CA, facility, due to the potential for premature product spoilage.

HP Hood is voluntarily recalling specific products after identifying a possible packaging defect that may result in product spoilage during transport and handling. Consumers may notice that, in some cases, the packaging is bloated and product inside may have an off taste or odor. Consumers should not use the product, since it does not meet its high quality standards.

The recalled products are limited to plastic bottles of 14 oz. and 10 oz. MUSCLE MILK® Genuine, MUSCLE MILK® Pro Series, MUSCLE MILK® 100 Calorie, with Best By dates of November 21, 2016 through May 23, 2017, with an "HS" in the code date. This recall applies only to the products listed below. The Best By and code dates are printed on the top of the lid of single serve bottles.

No confirmed reports have been received of any consumer illness nor injuries to date.

If a consumer has any of the MUSCLE MILK® products listed, they should return it to the store where they were purchased for an exchange, or call Customer Relations at 1-877-446-7635 Monday – Thursday 7:45 AM – 4:00 PM CST or Friday 7:45 AM – 2:45 PM CST.

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Are You Eating Enough Vegetables a Day?

NewsUSA  |  2016-05-24

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - Only nine percent of Americans are meeting their daily recommended consumption of vegetables, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This May, National Salad Month, make an extra effort to get your greens and meet the 2016 USDA Dietary Guidelines, which recommend that you consume between two and three cups of vegetables per day.

While this may sound like an impossible feat, it’s easy enough to accomplish with one simple dish, a salad. Not only can you make a dent in your daily consumption of vegetables, but you can also work your way towards achieving some of the other USDA Dietary Guidelines recommendations.

Here’s how:

  • Add meats such as steak or chicken and nuts such as pecans, walnuts and almonds to get a protein boost. It is recommended that an adult get anywhere from five to six-and-a-half ounces of lean and varied proteins per day.

  • Add fruits such as oranges or strawberries to try and hit the two cups of recommended fruit serving per day.

  • Crackers or quinoa can help you reach your allotment of three to four ounces of grains, half of which should be whole grains per day.

  • A little cheese can go a long way in helping you to meet the three recommended cups of dairy per day.

  • Salad dressings count towards the five to seven teaspoons of oils that you should be consuming each day and the oils in dressings, such as canola and soybean, help your body to absorb nutrients from vegetables.

Salads provide a healthy and easy avenue to gather several of the recommended nutrients. Here’s a simple recipe for Baby Greens with Roasted Pears, Feta and Walnuts to show you how easy it is to make a healthy and delicious salad.

All you need are pears, olive oil, baby greens, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, salt, pepper and your choice of salad dressings.

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and drizzle four pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths, with one teaspoon of olive oil. Roast in the oven until the edges turn golden brown.

Once the pears have cooled, toss with eight cups of baby greens and your choice of salad dressings (champagne vinaigrette is one recommendation). Sprinkle half-a-cup of feta and half-a-cup of walnuts over the greens, and season with salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to start enjoying National Salad Month like a pro!

For more recipes and ideas, visit The Association for Dressings and Sauces at www.dressings-sauces.org.

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Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger

Source: Willie Henderson, Carmichael post office food drive coordinator, Nalc branch 4494  |  2016-05-02

Participating in this year’s Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is simple: just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mail box on Saturday, May 14th and your Letter Carrier will do the rest. Photo courtesy United States Postal Service

Saturday, May 14th marks the 24th anniversary of one of America’s great days of giving: the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

Letter carriers walk through the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many, hunger. So each year on the second Saturday in May, Letter Carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in Sacramento who need their help.

Last year they collected over 71 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 30 million people. Over the course of its 23-year history, the drive has collected well over one billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.

The need for food donations is great; currently 49 million Americans (one in six) are unsure where their next meal is coming from. Sixteen million are children who feel hunger's impact on their overall health and ability to perform in school. And over 5 million seniors over age 60 are food insecure, with many who live on fixed incomes are often too embarrassed to ask for help.

This food drive’s timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and winter holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.

Participating in this year’s Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is simple. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mail box on Saturday, May 14th and your Letter Carrier will do the rest. You are invited to join in America’s great day of giving and help fight to end hunger.

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