USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Janey Thornton spoke to conference attendees at the Food Safety Education Conference in Atlanta. She described the Department’s mission to serve safe and nutritious school meals and snacks to the more than 11 million children who eat school breakfast every day and over 31 million eat school lunch.
“The fact that so many lives are touched by our programs is a constant reminder that we must continue to emphasize food safety,” said Thornton.
Thornton also talked about new efforts underway at USDA to further promote school food safety such as establishing a Center of Excellence that will be devoted to school food safety research and assisting States to improve the speed and accuracy of communications to schools on school food safety issues.
“Food safety goes hand-in-hand with nutrition and wellness,” Solange Morrissette of the National Coalition for Food Safe Schools who also spoke at the conference. To make sure food safety doesn’t get left off the table, USDA assisted with development and dissemination of the Food Safe Schools Action Guide, an information kit designed to improve food safety not only in the cafeteria, but throughout the schools: at “international nights,” sporting events, cookouts, field trips—anywhere kids eat during school activities. The guide helps school teams assess their current food safety practices and implement measures to improve.
The Food Safety Education Conference continues through Friday.
By Craig Stoltz, Director of Web Services, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service