Photo credit: The White House

Context and development

This summary describes the historical context in which federal agencies developed food service guidelines for healthier foods and beverages.

In May 2009, after meeting with CEOs from major corporations to discuss their worksite wellness initiatives, President Obama asked the Office of Personnel Management to develop a similar plan for the federal workforce. The White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Health Reform also began working with federal agencies to provide healthier food at federal worksites. The US General Services Administration led this effort and, in February 2010, issued procurement guidelines: the Wellness and Sustainability Requirements for Contracts at Federal Facilities.

To complement these procurement guidelines and to support the US General Services Administration’s efforts to promote health and sustainability, the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US General Services Administration worked together to conceive, develop, and implement the 2011 Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations. These guidelines provided specific nutrition and sustainability standards to improve employee health and reduce health care costs. 

In 2016, the Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations were updated and renamed. The new guidelines, Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities, have several new or revised features: 

  • The food and nutrition standards are in alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, Eighth Edition.
  • Energy efficiency and environmental performance standards are in alignment with Executive Order 13693 (Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade).
  • Additions of food safety standards are in alignment with The US Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code to ensure protection against foodborne illnesses.
  • There are behavioral design strategies for encouraging the selection of healthier foods and beverages.