Senators Clinton, Casey, and Brown Hail Passage of their Measure to Improve Food Safety for School Lunch Program
Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) welcomed Senate approval of their measure funding stepped-up food safety measures in the wake of last month's massive beef recall, the largest in American history. The measure, passed as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution, provides funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make public and widely accessible the list of producers supplying its nutrition programs, such as the School Lunch Program. Concerns over the source of food for the USDA's programs mounted after it was revealed that the meat packing company at the center of February's beef recall was the second largest beef supplier to the School Lunch Program.
"This measure will help ensure that the meals served to our children every day by USDA nutrition programs such as the School Lunch Program will be safe and healthy. Parents deserve to know that their children's food comes from reliable and scrutinized sources," Senator Clinton said. "I am grateful to Senators Casey and Brown for their leadership on this issue. Children in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and across the country will benefit from this legislation."
"Too often Americans turn on the television and see news of another food recall. This time the recalled beef made its way into cafeterias in schools across the country," said Senator Casey. "While thankfully no illnesses have been reported, these foods can pose a serious hazard to our health. I am pleased this amendment was included in the budget and it is my hope that the USDA will publish the list of producers supplying the nutrition programs so that Americans can know the sources of the foods they and their children are eating."
"Food safety is not an option; it's an imperative. Our amendment would provide strong oversight of our children's school lunches," Senator Brown said.
In January, the Humane Society reported beef cattle abuse and incidents that created food safety concerns at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company in California. On February 17th, the USDA announced that beef produced by the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company from February 1, 2006, to February 4, 2008 was voluntarily recalled due to regulatory noncompliance. This was the largest beef recall in American history.