Yet ensuring that kids eat well at school is more complicated than some might expect, as major corporations target kids as potential future junk food customers, and attempts to set higher nutrition standards for school lunches become the subject of endless debate.
A bill introduced in Congress last week by Representative Rosa DeLauro should help assuage at least some parental concerns about the food their kids eat at school. The Safe Chicken and Meat for Children Act of 2015 would ban chicken and meat produced or processed in China from federal nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program.
Why is this significant? Because China has notoriously lax food safety standards. A 2013 USDA audit of the country’s poultry slaughter system found poor management and revealed that not every chicken received adequate government inspection. Last year, there was even an incident where expired poultry products were sold to U.S. fast food restaurants in China.
The U.S. government knows that poultry from China isn’t safe — the agency announced that China’s systems aren’t up to U.S. standards, so China can’t ship raw poultry here for sale. Yet they still want to allow the import of poultry that’s cooked and processed in China, even though it’s produced under the same insufficient safety standards.
Despite these problems, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave Chinese chicken plants the green light to start sending processed chicken to the U.S. I’m not a parent, but making sure that kids aren’t exposed to this seems like a no-brainer.
Congress should help keep our kids’ food safe by prohibiting the USDA from purchasing Chinese meat or poultry for federal nutrition programs, including the school lunch program. That’s where you come in. Urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor Representative Rosa DeLauro’s Safe Chicken and Meat for Children Act of 2015.