Food Service Guidelines



Food Service Guidelines are a set of voluntary best business practices that can be used to increase healthy and safe food options in settings such as government facilities and programs, worksites, colleges and universities, food pantries/food banks, and healthcare facilities. Specific standards used vary, and may encompass behavioral design, food safety, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and other goals in addition to nutrtion. That being said, the guidelines are designed to achieve three key primary goals:

  • Healthier foods and beverages are available and encouraged to prevent chronic disease.
  • Environmentally responsible practices, including reduction of food waste, are conducted in food service.
  • Food safety practices are followed to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Food Service Guidelines (FSG) Work Group is comprised of diverse public health practitioners, scientists, and advocates from non-profit organizations, government, academia, and other stakeholders. It is hosted by the CDC’s NOPREN. Members conven to share timely research and evaluation methods and results, case studies, and evidence-based best practices in FSG adoption and implementation. Additionally, they seek opportunities to foster and collaborate on needed FSG-related research and research translation products.

Access the Food Service Guidelines Work Group Charter here


Members of the FSG work group collaborate on FSG-related research and share evaluation methods and results.  The FSG Work Group aims to leverage the collective skills and resources of its members to increase the quantity and quality of, and disseminate, evidence that benefits nutrition-related health, with a specific focus on understanding:

  • Best practices to facilitate effective FSG adoption and implementation, including use of behavioral design principles;
  • The FSG policy landscape and policy best practices;
  • Evaluation methods and data sources;
  • Impacts of FSG on:
  1. Availability and promotion of healthier foods;
  2. Food service operations and profits;
  3. Customer knowledge and behavior (i.e. selection and purchase of healthier foods); and
  4. Diet quality as part of improved health and health related outcomes.

Membership in the Work Group is open to researchers and practitioners with an interest in collaborating to advance our mission.

Key Activities and Findings

Key Function: Facilitate coordination and information sharing to 1) accelerate progress in effective implementation of FSG and 2) identify related gaps in knowledge and research. 

Related Activities:

  • Build a network of diverse researchers and leaders with expertise in nutrition standards, FSG research, behavioral design, evaluation, facility operations, and business models.
  • Convene regular meetings to provide updates on FSG research, implementation, and evaluation activities around the US and circulate notes from meetings.
  • Develop collaborative projects that leverage our skills and experiences in support of our mission.

Key Function: Foster research and evaluation efforts to study concepts of interest under “Mission” above. 

Related Activities:

  • Link public health practitioners with researchers to improve implementation and evaluation efforts.
  • Identify research priorities to fill critical gaps as options for researchers and funders, including by conducting literature reviews.
  • Develop measures and evaluation guide for FSG in various settings, drawing upon members’ research and experiences.
  • Develop case studies and success stories to provide qualitative information that can be used to help future efforts to implement FSG.
  • Elevate FSG visibility by collaborating to organize cross-disciplinary symposia, panels, and sessions at national conferences.


August 2020 Webinar: Applying Behavioral Design Principles to Promote Sales of Healthy Foods (listen to recording here)

  • Presenter: Nadine Nugent, PhD, Senior Scientist, Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (access PPT slides here)

June 2020 Webinar: Broadening Food Service Guideline Engagement Through the Good Food Purchasing Values (listen to recording here)

  • Presenter: Laura Edwards-Orr, Director of Institutional Impact at the Center for Good Food Purchasing Access PPT here

March 2020 Webinar: Evaluating FSG Implementation and Impact, Part 2: Brief Case Studies to Illustrate Different Approaches to Monitoring (listen to recording here)

  • Presentation #1: Evaluating Outcomes of Food Service Guidelines (Chris Long, University of Arkansas) Access PPT here
  • Presentation #2: Evaluating Food Service Guidelines Using Micro-Market Sales Data (Chris Mornick, WA DOH) Access PPT here
  • Presentation #3: Evaluating the Long-Term Impact of Nutrition Standards and Other Health Food Procurement Practices in Los Angeles County (Brenda Robles, LA County DPH) Access PPT here

January 2020 Webinar: Evaluating FSG Implementation and Impact, Part 1: Brief Case Studies to Illustrate Different Approaches to Monitoring (listen to recording here)

  • Presentation #1: Engaging Partners to Help Monitor Food Service Guidelines (Chris Mornick, Washington State Department of Health) Access PPT slides here
  • Presentation #2: Using FSG Monitoring to Influence Implementation of a Sodium Reduction Intervention in Schools (Chris Long, University of Arkansas) Access PPT slides here
  • Presentation #3: Applying a Mixed-Methods Evaluation Framework to Monitor Implementation of Healthy Food Procurement Practices in Los Angeles County (Brenda Robles, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health) Access PPT slides here

November 2019 Webinar: An Overview of A Roadmap for Comprehensive Food Service Guidelines – Best Practices and Opportunities to Advance Nutrition Through Food Service Guidelines in Diverse Public Settings (Click here to access the PPT slides and recording of the presentation) Speaker: Jessi Silverman, CSPI

September 2019 Webinar: Approaches to Improving Nutrition through the Charitable Feeding System (Click here to access PPT slides and recording of presentation)

Speaker: Hilary Seligman, UCSF

July 2019 Webinar: Procurement Policies vs. Food Service Guidelines


The NYC Food Standards: Procurement and Meal Requirements in New York City (Arielle Herman, Meghan Maroney – NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene) Click here to access PPT slides

Procurement Policies vs. Food Service Guidelines: How they are different and how they can work together (Michelle Wood – Los Angeles County Dept of Public Health) Click here to access PPT slides


Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities

A tool for including healthy food service guidelines in contractual agreements

A Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit

Food Service Guidelines Resources used by States

Healthy Hospital resources including a case series and toolkit with action planning materials and audits:

State and Local Research Manuscripts

Nutrition Standards for Food Service Guidelines for Foods Served or Sold in Municipal Government Buildings or Worksites, United States, 2014.

Food Service Guideline Policies on State Government-Controlled Properties.

The development and adoption of the first statewide comprehensive policy on food service guidelines (Washington State Executive Order 13-06) for improving the health and productivity of state employees and institutionalized populations.

Evaluating the Potential Health and Revenue Outcomes of a 100% Healthy Vending Machine Nutrition Policy at a Large Agency in Los Angeles County, 2013-2015.

Sales of healthy snacks and beverages following the implementation of healthy vending standards in City of Philadelphia vending machines.

Working with community partners to implement and evaluate the Chicago Park District’s 100% Healthier Snack Vending Initiative.


Implementing healthier foodservice guidelines in hospital and federal worksite cafeterias: barriers, facilitators and keys to success.

Review Papers

Nutritional labelling for healthier food or non-alcoholic drink purchasing and consumption.



Steve Onufrak, PhD   Epidemiologist

Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity



Kirsten Arm, MPH, RDN

Research Analyst, RWJF Healthy Eating Research Program