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GAO Report Offers Recommendations for Improving Safety of Food Purchased Through USDA Commodity Program

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its recommendations on improving the safety of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodity program, which provides foods to schools taking part in national school meals programs.

GAO was asked to review the extent to which the program’s purchasing specifications related to microbial contamination differ from federal regulations; the extent to which specifications for raw ground beef differ from those imposed by some other large purchasers; and examples of schools’ practices to help ensure that food is not contaminated.

GAO compared the program’s purchasing specifications to federal regulations for food sold commercially, gathered information from seven large purchasers of ground beef, and interviewed officials in 18 school districts in five states, selected in part because of their purchasing practices.

GAO issued the following recommendations upon its analysis:

To view this report, go to http://www.gao.gov/Products/GAO-11-376.

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