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Citywide Nutrition Standards

In 2014, the City of Philadelphia issued Executive Order 4-14, establishing citywide nutrition standards for foods and beverages purchased, prepared or served by City agencies.

Consider these facts:

  • One in five children and one in three adults in Philadelphia are obese.
  • Thirty-eight percent of all Philadelphians, and almost half of African American Philadelphians, have high blood pressure.
  • Approximately 2,000 deaths in Philadelphia annually are linked to poor diet and physical inactivity.
  • Improved diet can decrease the risk of these diet-related chronic diseases.
  • Annually, the City serves over 20 million meals and snacks to almost 64,000 Philadelphians, including 20,000 youth.

As a government, large employer, and service and program provider for vulnerable populations, the City of Philadelphia has a responsibility to serve healthy food that is tasty and appealing. Comprehensive food standards are an evidence-based strategy to align meals and snacks with the latest dietary guidance. They serve as a model for other large institutions and employers, and send a market signal to suppliers to provide and competitively price healthy food options.


Philadelphia Comprehensive Food StandardsComprehensive Food Standards

Food standards apply to all agencies that purchase, serve, sell, or otherwise provide food to clients, patients, employees and the general public, including contracted vendors. These standards were revised in 2016.

The Philadelphia Comprehensive Food Standards are made up of two parts:

  1. Nutrition Standards: required and recommended guidelines for foods purchased, meals and snacks served, and vending machines
  2. Best Practice Guidelines: recommended guidelines for special occasions, concessions, catering, and special events; recommended sustainability guidelines for all foodservice.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health will be providing support to agencies to incorporate the food standards into your meal service. The Nutrition Standards and Implementation Guide provides tools and tips to help you implement these standards in your facility.

Please contact Catherine Bartoli, Registered Dietitian, with any questions or for more information.

Philadelphia Nutrition Standards for Early Care and Education Facilities

In June 2017, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health released Nutrition Standards for Early Care and Education to reflect the best available science regarding nutrition and breastfeeding. The standards also include physical activity and screen time guidelines for early care and education programs. While not mandatory, PDPH strongly recommends that providers work to adopt these standards.

PDPH also encourages all early care and education programs to participate in the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) whenever eligible and feasible. CACFP plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families. The program provides reimbursement to child and adult care institutions and family and group day care homes for the provision of nutritious foods. Even if a child care program is unable to participate, they are still encouraged to follow the CACFP standards in addition to the Philadelphia Nutrition Standards.

Learn more about how the CACFP standards compare with the Philadelphia standards.

Please contact Catherine Bartoli, Registered Dietitian, with any questions or for more information. 


Healthy Vending Standards

In 2011, the City of Philadelphia passed a healthy vending policy that applies to over 300 vending machines in the City’s centralized vending contract. Get Healthy Philly first partnered with the Procurement Department, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, and the City’s vending partner to implement healthy beverage vending standards, followed by healthy snack standards in 2012. Early sales data showed that while overall sales have decreased slightly, the percent of sales that are healthy food and beverages has increased.


Find Out More

For more information, visit Food Fit Philly, or call 311.