Representative Joe Sestak, D-Penn., says he intends to introduce companion legislation to a bill introduced in the Senate by Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Both bills are aimed at improving the safety of food served under USDA's National School Lunch Program. The bills seek to improve how federal agencies communicate with schools during recalls and improve food testing standards.
Sestak says the legislation would ensure proper food testing, resolve communication issues regarding product holds and recalls, and implement a systemic quality check of the measures' effectiveness. He says parents should not have to worry about the food their children are served at school.
The proposed legislation would, among other things, direct USDA to fall in line with private food safety standards; work with the Agriculture Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency to determine the necessity for a hold on suspect commodities for school meal programs; and find ways for the states to speed notification to schools. Schools would also be included in effectiveness checks.