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December 15, 2023
PO Box 330
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0330        

Jeff Wolfe
P: (609) 913-6559
C: (609) 433-1785


Schools Preview Menu Items for 2024-25 School Year at USDA Foods Conference

(EDISON) – School officials and high school students from around New Jersey previewed the newest lunch and breakfast offerings available from food manufacturers for the 2024-25 school year during the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods Conference at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center on Tuesday. 

The conference had approximately 450 school food service directors, superintendents, business administrators, and students attend who could sample meals they can order for the 2024-2025 school year that meet the National School Lunch Program requirements. 

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) administers the USDA Foods Distribution program which takes USDA foods and distributes them to food processors at a reduced cost to school districts. 

“We know this is a significant event for school personnel as they begin to evaluate the best options for their district so they can provide nutritious foods that appeal to students, as well as addressing any budgetary concerns they may have,” NJDA Assistant Secretary Joe Atchison III said. “It was great to have students participate this year as well, so they could provide feedback on the variety of offerings available.”

There were 44 vendors that supplied samples to those in attendance.

This was the first year that students from various districts around the state were involved in sampling the food. Each student was given a sheet in which they listed the food service company, the offering they tasted, and gave it a score based on how they much liked it.

“It was really good food and I feel like everyone should be able to taste it, no matter which school they are in,” said Devaney Medina, a culinary student at Newark Vocational School.

“We have been rating them and so far, we have not given a bad review,” said Camilia Burgos, of Memorial High School in West New York. “That says something about how good this food is and hopefully this is something that students will get to try in the future.”

The conference also featured training sessions from NJDA Food and Nutrition Division staff that included Farm to School, Food Distribution, the Summer Food Service Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Child Nutrition.

“The workshops allow you to see the entire process of each division’s procedures and allow you to interact and get to know the people who are your primary resources for each meal program,” said Krystal Tanner, Executive Director of Food Services for Paterson Public Schools. “You get to choose some of the best items that will work for your program.”

Food vendors as well as school administrators understand the USDA nutrition requirements that schools must meet when serving food in schools.

“This is an important conference for several reasons,” said Margaret DiBlasi, the Food Service Director for Franklin Township Public Schools. “We get to see the new products as well as the existing products. This allows us to get nutritional information for the products and helps us plan our menus for the upcoming school year.”


To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at and or Twitter @NJDA and @JerseyFreshNJDA.