Letter to Senate Committee

By Ebelherr, Douglas J. | Journal of Environmental Health, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Letter to Senate Committee


Ebelherr, Douglas J., Journal of Environmental Health


September 3, 2003

The Honorable Thad Cochran, Chair

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry

Room SR-328A

Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC. 20510-6000

RE: S. 506, "Safe School Food Act of 2003"

Dear Senator Cochran:

The National Environmental Health Association supports S. 506, "Safe School Food Act of 2003", however, we have several concerns that need to be addressed to strengthen and enhance this legislation and I offer the assistance of NEHA in making these improvements.

NEHA, with a national membership of 5000, represents 25,000+ environmental health professionals nationwide. Many of these professionals work in environmental health programs within local health departments and are directly responsible for food safety in schools in their communities.

There are four areas of improvement proposed in this legislation, Improving Inspections, Purchasing Safe Food, Planning and Serving Safe Meals and Providing Notice and Recalling Unsafe Food. While USDA is the federal agency responsible for food safety, each of these areas of improvement should involve local health departments who already provide food safety education, training, and inspection services to their local communities. We suggest that this legislation provide the mandate and resources for USDA to establish partnerships with these local health departments to conduct these activities.

Effective education about planning and serving safe meals can be conducted by environmental health programs within local health departments. The best way to increase the frequency of cafeteria inspections and make those inspections available to the public is through already established environmental health programs within local health departments. …

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