PHILADELPHIA, PA, UNITED STATES
Story by Alexandria Brimage-Gray
Plans to develop a more transparent process regarding restricted ingredients for military dining facility menus were discussed at the Research and Development Associates for Military Food and Packaging meeting Oct. 23 in Woburn, Massachusetts, a Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support division chief said.
“At the recent RD&A meeting we discussed a process map that allows industry to have input into actions before they take place,” Janine Samoni, the Subsistence strategic material sourcing group division chief said. “If there is an ingredient that we plan to restrict in the future, DLA would solicit feedback from the industry.”
The process that Samoni stated follows the same model the Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture uses before publishing their respective decisions in the Federal Register.
“DLA will solicit feedback from the industry, provide that feedback to the Department of Defense nutrition committee and they would funnel that information to the appropriate agencies for review and to make a recommendation,” Samoni said. “Once the appropriate agency makes their recommendation, we would issue a proposed ruling and allow industry to comment again before a final decision would be made.”
Starr Seip, a registered dietitian in Subsistence’s standardization and cataloging branch, stated that everything placed in DLA catalogs and provided to military dining facilities have to meet requirements based on FDA, USDA and DOD menu standards in the services buyer’s guide.
“As the outside markets and the mission of the services change, the services may reach out to DLA to adjust their requirements at any time,” Seip said. “My job is to facilitate the service standards, to ensure that our vendors provide our service members safe, and the best quality food possible from approved sources, based on nutrition science and the buyer’s guide standards.”
In early 2019, DLA plans to host a meeting in Philadelphia to finalize and issue the new communication mapping process to industry.
“We are excited to partner with industry on this project,” Gina Vasquez, Subsistence director of supplier operations said. “DLA Troop Support strives to be transparent and open as it works to efficiently support the dietary requirements of the military services and to ensure the warfighter’s readiness and lethality in achieving their global mission.”