An investigative report conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office indicates thousands of schools served contaminated peanut butter and canned vegetables to schoolchildren weeks after recalls were announced.
From the GAO report:
When the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled suspect peanut products and canned vegetables…Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) did not inform states and schools to hold and not serve the companies’ commodity products until the recalls were expanded to include the companies’ commodity products—weeks later.
FNS’s initial notification to states regarding recalls did not provide complete information on the full range of products affected…It sometimes took states and schools a week or more to determine what additional products were subject to a recall, during which time they unknowingly served affected products.
Although both USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the FDA procedures direct them to conduct recall quality checks, neither included thousands of schools that had received recalled USDA-commodities products for the beef and peanut recalls because they thought FNS conducted these checks.
As a result, they were unable to ensure that the recalls were being carried out effectively by schools. FNS officials said that they did not conduct any kind of systematic quality checks of schools receiving recalled commodities, because they relied on FSIS and FDA to conduct such checks.
Not only is the GAO report a shameless indictment of an array of federal agencies designated to protect our children and the public at large, the GAO report clearly demonstrates the total ineptitude and bureaucratic bungling of a federal system plagued with repeated offenses of gross negligence and mismanagement. Years of criticisms from tax paying citizens and organized advocacy groups are met with empty congressional promises.
This year alone has left nine dead and over 22,000 sick from contaminated food that was used by dozens of manufacturers in hundreds of products that were all recalled. Eating food regulated by our government is like playing Russian Roulette. The only way to ensure the food we eat is safe is to either grow food ourselves, or buy it locally from a trustworthy organic farm.