LUBBOCK, TEXAS, US — Sorghum, a nutrient-rich, high-protein, gluten-free, ancient whole grain, has been added to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Buying Guide for child nutrition programs. The Food Buying Guide is considered the primary resource used by school foodservice directors to build menus that comply with nutrition requirements set by the USDA.
“The inclusion of sorghum in the Food Buying Guide is a monumental win for sorghum producers as we continue seeking to develop new markets for our crop,” said Norma Ritz Johnson, executive director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP). “Sorghum’s inclusion in the guide is pivotal in our efforts to increase its visibility and ease of use among foodservice professionals, as well as the students they serve, and the industry is excited to deliver this nutritious whole grain to the plates of America’s schoolchildren.”
The USCP said it worked with the USDA for many months to get sorghum added to the Food Buying Guide. The decision comes just a few weeks after the USDA implemented a new requirement stating that at least 80% of the weekly grains in school lunch and breakfast menus must be whole-grain rich. The USCP said sorghum will help school nutrition professionals meet that requirement as they build out menus for the upcoming school year and beyond.
“The Food Buying Guide is a critical resource on which foodservice professionals rely to formulate meal plans for school nutrition programs that meet USDA nutrition requirements,” said Lanier Dabruzzi, MS, RD, LD, director of food innovations and institutional markets at the Sorghum Checkoff. “As the 2022-23 school year opens, schools are working around a new 80% whole grain requirement. This timely addition will give school nutrition providers a new ingredient to include in bowls, salads, soups, baked goods and more.”
Foodservice professionals who are interested in incorporating sorghum into their school menus as a healthy and gluten-free whole grain may visit sorghumcheckoff.com or contact Lanier Dabruzzi at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about purchasing and utilizing sorghum in a variety of ways offering a new and nutritious menu option to satisfy students of all ages.
The USCP is a producer-funded organization that is dedicated to improving the sorghum industry through research, promotion and education.