School lunches safer

In 2010, when we found out that some school lunches included ammonia treated beef scraps, OSPIRG decided to take on the issue. OSPIRG Federal Public Health Advocate Liz Hitchcock met with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and just a few weeks after we launched the campaign, the Department of Agriculture announced it would set stricter safety standards for beef in school lunches.

As it turned out, however, school lunches also include some chicken that is so low quality that it’s also sold for dog food and fertilizer. We urged the department to address chicken, eggs and any other foods at high risk for bacterial contamination. OSPIRG Executive Director Dave Rosenfeld also spoke to Secretary Vilsack, mentioning the conversations we’ve had with tens of thousands of Oregonians on this issue.

In January 2011, OSPIRG staff met with the USDA, and they announced that they were no longer purchasing “spent hen” meat for the national school lunch program.