Interior issues new healthy food standards for national parks

The new guidelines requiring healthier choice at more than 250 food and beverage operations at national parks will be integrated into all new concessions contracts and applied on a voluntary basis to existing contracts, according to the National Park Service.

The agency, however, was careful to note that it does not intend to take away tourists beloved sodas or cheese burgers, but is rather promising healthy alternatives for the sight-seeing public.

The new policy also promotes the use of locally grown fruits and veggies in parks, where roughly 23 million Americans buy meals every year,

“It’s not just healthy food it’s, where possible, local food. And its giving our children good examples of what they can eat,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said during remarks Wednesday near a food kiosk in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. “This is part of the presidents commitment to health and wellbeing.”

Moments later Jewell sipped strawberry rhubarb gazpacho and sampled a breast of free range chicken served with sweet potato cake and fennel salad.

The program includes incentives and “recognition opportunities” for concession companies that go above and beyond the new standards.

Firms with contracts at some of the nation’s most visited national parks said they are on board with the plan, and insist they are already offering healthy options.

Delaware North Parks & Resorts, for example, touted its grocery department at Grand Canyon National Park, which has a selection of more than 1,800 organic or national food options, the company said.

The new guidelines were issued in conjunction with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to counter childhood obesity.


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