The California Safe School Lunch Campaign

The California Safe School Lunch Campaign

The California Safe School Lunch Campaign is part of the movement fighting for healthy, sustainable, and wholesome school lunches.  We believe that children have the right to nutritious, high quality food, and that school lunches should not be the domain of profit driven corporations with no concern for public health.  We believe that nutritionally deficient, questionable foods have no place in school meal programs.

On May 29, 2003, despite thousands of comments from parents, teachers, students, and concerned citizens that overwhelmingly opposed serving irradiated food to children, the USDA chose to include irradiated ground beef for federal nutrition programs.  These programs include the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or reduced price meals to needy schoolchildren.  Food service directors and school officials in each district can now choose whether or not to purchase it for their schools, without notifying parents.

California Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) introduced AB 1988, which requires school board approval of irradiated foods, and requires schools to make available information used in making their decision, to notify parents that irradiated foods are being served, and to label irradiated foods as such on school menus. AB 1988 passed the California Legislature on August 25, but unfortunately Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.

  • To read the text of AB 1988 click here.
  • To learn more about Public Citizen's national campaign to keep irradiated foods out of school meals, click here.

hancock press conference

California Assemblymember Loni Hancock, sponsor of AB 1988, spoke at a press conference with Congresswoman  Barbara Lee, Public Citizen organizer Tracy Lerman, parents, and local activists.

Ban Irradiated Foods In Your School District!

By ignoring the concerns of thousands of concerned individuals across the country, it is clear that the USDA did not have the public’s interest in mind when they approved irradiated foods for the National School Lunch Program.  However, communities have been sounding their disapproval for the USDA’s proposal loud and clear, and have passed resolutions or policies at their local school boards that ban irradiated foods from school meal programs.  To date, six school districts in California have banned irradiated foods, and many others have decided not to order it.  In addition, many states have decided against ordering irradiated foods for their schools’ lunch programs.

Click here for a list of California school districts who have banned irradiated foods.