Sacramento City Unified faces criticism for buying Chinese canned fruit

Nov 17, 2015 by

The Sacramento City Unified School District bought tens of thousands of dollars in canned peaches, pears and applesauce from China, defying a federal guideline that asks U.S. schools to serve domestic food and running counter to the district’s embrace of the local farm-to-fork movement.

The large purchase drew criticism this month from the California Canning Peach Association and Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, whose Northern California congressional district includes 40 percent of California’s peach growers.

It also caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which said it will work with the district “to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used to purchase American products” in accordance with the Buy American provision of the National School Lunch Act. The act requires school districts to buy domestically grown and processed foods unless such items are not available domestically or cost significantly more than foreign supplies.

“My district is the center of the peach country. When I found out about it, I was angry,” Garamendi said. “I jumped all over it. I said, ‘How can this be? How can the Sacramento school district do such a thing?’ 

He added that “Sacramento has had this very strong farm-to-fork program, and one of our biggest purchasers of produce is off buying Chinese peaches.”

Source: Sacramento City Unified faces criticism for buying Chinese canned fruit | The Sacramento Bee

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