USDA Wants 'Campus Ambassadors' to Talk Peers Out of 3 a.m. Taco Bell

The Agriculture Department is recruiting college campus "ambassadors" to try to wipe the scourge of 3 a.m. Taco Bell from dorms and make students who often live on ramen noodles eat healthier.

To mark back-t0-school season, the USDA today touted "a number of Department efforts to promote a healthy and productive learning environment."

"As our youngsters head back to school, USDA is committed to their future," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We are taking new steps to expand rural education opportunities, ensure healthy and safe food for young people, and giving parents and teachers the tools and information they need to help our kids grow up ready to lead the world."

This includes the MyPlate Kids Place for children ages 8 to 12, "which can also help parents and educators make better and healthier food choices" with "games, activity sheets, recipes and tips."

The USDA has also launched the MyPlate on Campus partnership "to recruit college-age students to become campus MyPlate ambassadors."

"These ambassadors will lead their campus community to encourage healthy eating and more physical activity," USDA said.

New rules are also being phased in for schools regarding foods that are allowed to be sold, including snacks.

Citing packed lunches as a source of foodborne illness, the department is also launching an educational program for parents who choose to send their kid to school with a brown-bag lunch.

"USDA is also helping inside the classroom. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the American Statistical Association (ASA) are preparing to present a new Census at School Food Preference Survey lesson plan and activities for students in grades 5 to 8. This new curriculum teaches statistical and agricultural literacy to children through common core standards in Mathematics, Language Arts, Nutrition, Social Studies, and Family Consumer Sciences," the department added.