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Safe School Lunches


On May 29, 2003, despite thousands of comments from parents, teachers, students, and concerned citizens that overwhelmingly opposed the purchase of irradiated food for the National School Lunch Program, the USDA chose to include irradiated ground beef for federal nutrition programs.  As of September 2004, irradiated ground beef is available to schools and costs 29-80 cents more per pound than non-irradiated ground beef. However, school officials in each district can choose whether or not to purchase it for their schools.

At the start of the 2004-2005 school year, only Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas ordered irradiated ground beef for schools in their states.  Ultimately, all three states withdrew their orders for irradiated ground beef, citing the product’s high cost and the inadequate information provided by the federal government.  

Fans of irradiation (including the USDA) have been disappointed that irradiated ground beef has been so slow to catch on in school lunches – and they will continue to promote it to schools across the country. To overcome this, a number of school districts have outright banned irradiated foods, while other districts, like Seattle, have adopted strong directives discouraging the use of irradiated foods as part of a comprehensive healthy school lunch policy. The best way to make sure that irradiated food stays out of your local schools is to work with your school board to adopt a formal policy on this and other school nutrition issues. 

Congress Reauthorizes Child Nutrition Act, Restricts School Lunch Use of Irradiated Foods!

Irradiated Food & Model School Wellness Policy

Why Oppose Irradiated Food in Schools?

What Can YOU Do To Keep Irradiated Food Out of School Lunches?!

What Schools Have Decided on Irradiated Foods - Requests and Bans



Symbol for Irradiated Foods
not required on school lunches

Hot Issues

» No irradiated beef requests to the USDA for the 2005-06 school year

» Download the school lunch organizing kit!

» Washington D.C. Public School District Bans Irradiated Food!

» The California Safe School Lunch Campaign

» Seattle's Comprehensive Nutrition Policy Directs Against Irradiated Food

    » cmep | foodsafety | food irrad | schoollunch

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