USDA Urged to Enforce Buy American for School Lunches

John Davis

ncfc1Fifty agricultural trade associations, farmer co-ops and agribusinesses want the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enforce buy American provision when it comes to school lunches. After an investigative report showed some school districts were spending tax dollars on imported Chinese canned fruit, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives urged Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to strengthen enforcement of the “Buy American” provision for participants in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.

“Our organizations are deeply concerned that the Buy America Act requirements of the National School Lunch Act are not being adequately monitored and enforced,” the groups wrote to the Secretary. “Our concerns were amplified with the Sacramento City Unified School District’s recent acknowledgement that they have been purchasing canned peaches, pears and applesauce from China. Since there is currently no transparency regarding school purchases of imported products, we must assume there are other districts throughout the country purchasing imported food products.”

Secretary Vilsack and the Department should focus on ways in which the Buy American provision can be better enforced. Suggestions included more closely monitoring procurement specifications and contractor performance.

You can read the full letter here.

Ag Groups, USDA

Comments 15

  1. If the government gave school districts more funding for the additional regulations they’ve imposed then maybe we wouldn’t have to look abroad to be able to get the most out of the monies we have.

  2. If the government gave school districts more funding for the additional regulations they’ve imposed then maybe we wouldn’t have to look abroad to be able to get the most out of the monies we have.

  3. If the government gave school districts more funding for the additional regulations they’ve imposed then maybe we wouldn’t have to look abroad to be able to get the most out of the monies we have.

  4. We just had this discussion at a recent bid co-op meeting. The issue comes down to cost. We would double our cost for canned fruit if we specified grown and packed in USA. Not that we are opposed but we already see most of our fruit, canned and fresh go in the trash.

  5. We just had this discussion at a recent bid co-op meeting. The issue comes down to cost. We would double our cost for canned fruit if we specified grown and packed in USA. Not that we are opposed but we already see most of our fruit, canned and fresh go in the trash.

  6. We just had this discussion at a recent bid co-op meeting. The issue comes down to cost. We would double our cost for canned fruit if we specified grown and packed in USA. Not that we are opposed but we already see most of our fruit, canned and fresh go in the trash.

  7. Really? How foolish. If you want us to “Buy American” make it the best buy and quality not a forced rule. Every summer meeting I attend for the SNA hands me a gift that says “Made in China”.

    If you want to save money enlarge the random sample size of free and reduced applications or let the USDA talk to the IRS and distribute the free and reduced that way.

  8. Really? How foolish. If you want us to “Buy American” make it the best buy and quality not a forced rule. Every summer meeting I attend for the SNA hands me a gift that says “Made in China”.

    If you want to save money enlarge the random sample size of free and reduced applications or let the USDA talk to the IRS and distribute the free and reduced that way.

  9. Really? How foolish. If you want us to “Buy American” make it the best buy and quality not a forced rule. Every summer meeting I attend for the SNA hands me a gift that says “Made in China”.

    If you want to save money enlarge the random sample size of free and reduced applications or let the USDA talk to the IRS and distribute the free and reduced that way.

  10. I am an Executive Chef and Food Service Director for a mid-size school district. The selection of fruits and vegetables available during the winter that are U.S. grown are extremely limited. Some items, generally, (using their example of canned Mandarin Oranges and items such as Pineapple) are not even available from the U.S packers. There is also the problem of what brands/packers that our vendors actually stock. I try to buy american whenever possible but I, and most directors, cannot sacrifice the already limited variety of fruits and vegetables that we are able to serve our kids. This “coalition”, I imagine, is more concerned with their profits than contributing to the “Buy American” philosophy.

  11. I am an Executive Chef and Food Service Director for a mid-size school district. The selection of fruits and vegetables available during the winter that are U.S. grown are extremely limited. Some items, generally, (using their example of canned Mandarin Oranges and items such as Pineapple) are not even available from the U.S packers. There is also the problem of what brands/packers that our vendors actually stock. I try to buy american whenever possible but I, and most directors, cannot sacrifice the already limited variety of fruits and vegetables that we are able to serve our kids. This “coalition”, I imagine, is more concerned with their profits than contributing to the “Buy American” philosophy.

  12. I am an Executive Chef and Food Service Director for a mid-size school district. The selection of fruits and vegetables available during the winter that are U.S. grown are extremely limited. Some items, generally, (using their example of canned Mandarin Oranges and items such as Pineapple) are not even available from the U.S packers. There is also the problem of what brands/packers that our vendors actually stock. I try to buy american whenever possible but I, and most directors, cannot sacrifice the already limited variety of fruits and vegetables that we are able to serve our kids. This “coalition”, I imagine, is more concerned with their profits than contributing to the “Buy American” philosophy.

  13. To avoid a food service manager in a school system accidentally ordering fruit and any other item out of USA, maybe it would be a good idea that ALL vendors not have items that are out of USA listed as an item we can purchase. If it is not listed as available, then we wouldn’t buy it.

  14. To avoid a food service manager in a school system accidentally ordering fruit and any other item out of USA, maybe it would be a good idea that ALL vendors not have items that are out of USA listed as an item we can purchase. If it is not listed as available, then we wouldn’t buy it.

  15. To avoid a food service manager in a school system accidentally ordering fruit and any other item out of USA, maybe it would be a good idea that ALL vendors not have items that are out of USA listed as an item we can purchase. If it is not listed as available, then we wouldn’t buy it.

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