Monday, May 7, 2012

LEAN certified?

The U.S. Healthful Food Council just launched, a nonprofit, non-government group which aims to "improve the health of Americans by providing incentives, programs and tools to the foodservice industry to serve more fresh, minimally processed, local, and environmentally friendly options," according to a press release.

The gist? The group plans to promote places using what it considers nutritional best practices with labels and incentives, similar to what the U.S. Green Building Council did with LEED certification for structures. (LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; this plans to pronounce places "LEAN certified" -- Leadership in Environment And Nutrition.)

“Eating out has become a necessity for most Americans of all of ages and demographics, which means the restaurant and foodservice industry has unprecedented influence over the food choices and, consequently, the overall health of America,” says USHFC president Lawrence Williams. “The hyper-competitive nature of the restaurant business results in tremendous pressure to reduce costs, which typically comes at the price of consumers’ health.”

Places that use fresh produce, "moderate" portions, minimally processed foodstuffs, few additives, environmentally and humanely raised foods and special offerings, from kids' menus to gluten-free dishes, will get "credit."

Restaurants will be the group's first focus, but it also will look at grocers, markets and schools. More info: