in the KNOW

October 9, 2017

Gov. Brown Signs Bill to Bolster Buy American Compliance for School Lunches

Photo credit: www.usda.gov

Photo credit: www.usda.gov

Governor Jerry Brown took action on October 7 to sign SB 730 into law, a measure sponsored by Agricultural Council of California (Ag Council) and authored by Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), to establish important steps for the California Department of Education (CDE) to comply with the federal Buy American provision in school lunch and breakfast programs.

The Buy American provision requires schools that participate in the school lunch and breakfast programs to purchase domestically grown and processed foods to the maximum extent practicable. The food must be produced and processed in the United States with the final processed product consisting of over 51 percent domestic agricultural commodities.

SB 730 is needed given that a July 2017 California State Audit, initiated by Ag Council, reveals California has not ensured that schools comply with the Buy American requirement for school food purchases.

“Our farmers and ranchers meet some of the highest worker protection and environmental standards in the world and produce high quality and healthful food,” said Dr. Pan, who is a pediatrician, as well as a state senator. “Our students deserve to benefit from the quality of American agriculture and California schools should support our farmers.”

California Canning Peach Association President & CEO Rich Hudgins said, “Since state agencies have the responsibility to provide oversight and ensure compliance, SB 730 creates mechanisms for CDE to provide guidance to school food authorities to ensure transparency in school food purchases and strengthen compliance with the provision.”

Ag Council President Emily Rooney, said, “SB 730 helps ensure school children consume safe, high quality food, reinforces locally grown efforts, benefits our economy and supports California farmers who achieve the most ambitious environmental, labor and food safety standards in the nation.”

Ag Council greatly appreciates Governor Brown for signing SB 730 and extends a sincere thanks to Dr. Pan for championing the bill through the Legislature as the author.