Health District and DETR complete Nutrition Standards Policy policy to be implemented at all DETR BEN locations
LAS VEGAS – In an effort to increase access to healthy foods and beverages, the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the Southern Nevada Health District developed a Nutrition Standards Policy for DETR’s Business Enterprise Program (BEN). The BEN program provides clients of DETR’s Bureau of Services to the Blind and Visually Impaired with training and on-the-job-experience managing businesses in public buildings.
DETR is adopting the policy in the 28 cafes and snack bars, and the more than 900 vending machines that are operated as part of the BEN program throughout the state. The Nutrition Standards Policy will apply to all concessions, micro-markets, cafeterias, cafes, snack bars, vending machines, and any other food outlets operated or subcontracted through the BEN program. This policy will directly affect almost all of the 53,000 government employees across the state, including those that work in county, state, and federal buildings, said Shelley Hendren, administrator for DETR’s Rehabilitation Division that oversees the BEN program. Nevada is the first state to voluntarily implement this type of progressive healthy food policy.
“We are pleased to partner with the Southern Nevada Health District in creating more opportunities to help Nevada residents find healthier food options,” Hendren said. “As consumers increasingly begin to adopt healthy living, it is important that we do our part to offer those options.”
The policy establishes nutrition standards for beverages, meals and other menu items, and snack foods while also increasing choices for consumers who use BEN operated facilities and cafes. The policy also includes requirements regarding preferential pricing, placement, and marketing for those items meeting policy standards. Food standards for cafes and cafeterias include offering a minimum amount of lean proteins, whole grain products, and fruits and vegetables that are raw or unsweetened, or cooked in such a way that does not add calories. Fifty percent of items in all vending machines will need to meet policy standards, and those items meeting the standards must be clearly identifiable in the machine. Bottled water must be priced lower than regular soda or sugar-sweetened beverages of the same size.
“Our Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has worked closely with DETR to develop this policy with the goal of providing healthier options to patrons and clients in government buildings across the state,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “In Clark County, about a quarter of our adults over the age of 20 can be considered obese, and many of our residents consume fewer than the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. We want to make healthier choices easier and more accessible.”
The Southern Nevada Health District is home to a BEN operated business, the Aroma Café. The Aroma Café is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves both Health District employees and clients.
The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation is comprised of the Rehabilitation Division which provides people with disabilities job placement and other workforce-related services, as well as other divisions that provide services to employers and jobseekers.