Glossary

Commonly Used Terms

To help you become more familiar with terms used on this site and in the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilitieswe've compiled this list with definitions and examples of use.

Café — In addition to the types of products offered at on-site grills, cafés may include a limited line of prepared hot vegetables and entrées each day. This level of service requires complex food service equipment, building utilities, and food preparation practices. Cafés require sanitation inspections, and they have attendants and an on-site manager. 

Cafeteria — In addition to products offered in cafés, cafeterias may include a wide range of hot and cold foods each day. This level of service requires complex food service equipment, building utilities, and food preparation practices. Cafeterias require sanitation inspections, and they have attendants and an on-site manager.

Default — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines default as a preset menu option. In other words, a default menu item is one automatically provided in the absence of a specific request by a consumer. For example, a default item can be the side dish typically served with a meal or the type of bread that comes on a sandwich. 

Entrée — The US Department of Agriculture defines an entrée as “an item that includes only the following three categories of main dish food items: 

  • A combination food of meat/meat alternate and whole grain rich food, or 
  • A combination food of vegetable or fruit and meat/meat alternate, or 
  • A meat/meat alternate alone, with exception of yogurt, low-fat or reduced fat cheese, nuts, seeds and nut or seed butters and meat snacks (i.e., dried beef jerky and meat sticks).” 

Forecasting — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines forecasting as a process for making predictions on the amount of food to order or prepare to meet consumer demand and ensure minimal food waste. Forecasting considers factors such as historical sales data, the population served by the venue, and the day of the week. 

Lean meat and lean poultry —The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines lean meat and lean poultry as “any meat or poultry that contains less than 10 g of fat, 4.5 g or less of saturated fats, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 g and per labeled serving size, based on USDA definitions for food label use. Examples include 95% lean cooked ground beef, beef top round steak or roast, beef tenderloin, pork top loin chop or roast, pork tenderloin, ham or turkey deli slices, skinless chicken breast, and skinless turkey breast.” 

Limited on-site snack shop or bar — In addition to products offered at prepackaged snack bars, limited on-site snack bars include food preparation on the premises, require sanitation inspections by certified sanitation workers, and may have attendants and an on-site manager. These self-service or attendant-served operations may offer a limited range of foods prepared on the premises, such as soups, salads, and cold sandwiches. 

Locally sourced products — According to the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008: Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2419, a locally sourced product is “transported less than 400 miles from the origin of the product” or is transported within “the State in which the product is produced.” 

Meal — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines a meal as consisting of an entrée and 2 side items.

Micro markets — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines micro markets as small food service areas, such as stores or kiosks, in which a cashier is not present and the consumer makes purchases through self-checkout stations.

On-site grill — In addition to products offered at limited on-site snack bars, on-site grills may include prepared hot foods from a grill and fryer station. This level of service requires complex food service equipment, building utilities, and food preparation practices. On-site grills require sanitation inspections, and they have attendants and an on-site manager.

Organic food — According to the US Department of Agriculture, “organic food is produced using sustainable agricultural production practices. Not permitted are most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Organic meat, poultry eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.” 

Prepackaged snack shop or bar — In addition to products offered at sundry shops, prepackaged snack bars may offer selections of packaged or on-site–mixed beverages and prepackaged foods. Prepackaged snack shops have no on-site food or beverage preparation; they may be self-service operations and/or have attendants and an on-site manager.

Seafood — The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines seafood as “marine animals that live in the sea and in freshwater lakes and rivers. Seafood includes fish (e.g., salmon, tuna, trout, and tilapia), and shellfish (e.g., shrimp, crab, and oysters).” 

Side item — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines a side item as a single serving of a food that may accompany a meal or an entrée or may be eaten on its own.

Soy products — The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines soy products as soy-containing foods that provide a source of protein, such as edamame, soy nuts, soybeans, tempeh, textured soy protein (TSP), tofu, and soy meat alternatives. Meat alternatives containing soy protein or tofu may be used to imitate meat, such as burgers, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. 

Sundry stands — Sundry stands may sell newsstand materials, gifts, cards, state-sanctioned lottery games, snacks, candy, and beverages. Sundry stands generally exclude food items, and typically have an on-site operator.

Variety —The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines variety as “a diverse assortment of foods and beverages across and within all food groups and subgroups selected to fulfill the recommended amounts without exceeding the limits for calories and other dietary components. For example, in the vegetables food group, selecting a variety of foods could be accomplished over the course of a week by choosing from all subgroups, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other vegetables.” 

Vending machines — Vending machines are coin-activated machines that automatically dispense goods or sundries. Food products are prepared and packaged off-site by licensed commissaries. Products may include prepackaged and on-site–mixed beverages, prepackaged milk, soups, salads, sandwiches, meals, snacks, pastries, and ice cream. The service may or may not have an on-site operator.

Whole grains or 100% whole grains—The 2015- 2020 Dietary Guidelines defines whole grains or 100% whole grains as “grains and grain products made from the entire grain seed, usually called the kernel, which consists of the bran, germ, and endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain in order to be called whole grain.” A food is a 100-percent whole-grain food if the only grains it contains are whole grains. Examples of 100% whole grain foods include 100% whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, or quinoa.

Whole grain products—The Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities defines whole grain products as those products that have at least 51% of the total ingredients by weight as whole-grain ingredients which is the definition used in  2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.