History of the CNC

History of the Central Nutrition Center

The Central Nutrition Center (CNC) opened in 2004. The CNC houses a production facility that allows many foods to be prepared centrally, which assures a consistent, quality product. Menu items such as chili, marinara sauce, barbecued pork and taco meat are prepared using a cook-chill method. The cook-chill method allows for foods to be prepared safely. First the product is heated thoroughly to at least 180 degrees F to kill harmful bacteria using two steam-jacketed, 200-gallon kettles with agitators. It is cooled rapidly (within one hour) using a Tumbler Chiller to below 40 degrees F and stored at 33 degrees F before it is sent to schools in refrigerated trucks. This process is designed to minimize the time a food product is in the food temperature danger zone (40 degree F to 135 degrees F). A typical day of production will yield 2,500 pounds of finished product, which is then portioned into smaller amounts that are sent to schools. It is then reheated at the school to make sure students receive a consistent, quality product.

The CNC also houses a bakery that produces home-baked items, including French bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls and cookies. Most products are made with at least 50 percent whole wheat flour. Most school kitchens have been designed to allow food sent from the CNC to be heated at the school to allow the best possible temperature and quality product.