The USDA attempts to make school lunches safer.

February 8th, 2010

The reason I use the word attempt is that quite often programs are announced that are placed on top of other programs already in place that just end up complicating the other programs by adding more process...

Have you ever heard the phrase “A camel is a horse created by committee”? Well read on.

According to a February 5th article by Blake Morrison and Peter Eisler of USA TODAY titled School lunch safety shored up, The United States Department of Agriculture or the USDA announced steps to “assure the safety and quality food” purchased for the National School Lunch Program.

This author discussed this subject in a post on 12/10/2009 titled I loved school lunches and in a related post on 01/21/2010 titled Where’s the Beef and how do we trace it? As my previous posts point out this is not just a beef problem, a recall management problem, a poultry problem (spent hens) or a traceability problem. It is all of the above and more.

Beyond what the USDA can do and what meat packers and processors can do is what the schools can also do. From a pure sourcing perspective, the question is are our schools just buying what the government has to sell in terms of commodities or are they actually asking questions as to where the products came from, how they were grown and what standards the growers and processors are beings held accountable to.

In another post titled Food Safety requires a community effort I quoted President Obama as having said “There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat are safe and do not cause us harm.” So congratulations to the USDA for stepping up. But let’s remember that it is a community effort and as procurement professionals we can not let our guard down just because another program comes along.

Our children and our communities are counting on us.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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