Chinese Fruit Opens a Can of Controversy For Sacramento Schools

The Sacramento City Unified School District is in a sticky situation after it opted to violate federal guidelines by purchasing thousands of dollars’ worth of Chinese peaches. The Buy American provision of the National School Lunch Act requires school districts to buy domestically unless availability or high cost make it impossible.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, is “angry” about the situation and rightfully so. Garamendi’s Northern California congressional district is home to 40 percent of California’s peach growers. And in a letter he wrote to the district he noted “four canned peach processing facilities within a two-hour drive of Sacramento.”

Other upset parties include the California Canning Peach Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gold Star Foods of Ontario, the distributor for SCUSD, claims that the district knowingly purchased imported peaches, but district officials are looking into how this accident could happen.

The purchase was “inconsistent with our priorities and our goal to buy local products in the Sacramento region and California,” said Gabe Ross, a Sacramento City Unified spokesman. “We’ve got a great track record in the region with locally sourced foods.” Adding that this incident was a “mistake.”

The district is now seeking a peachier food service contract.

 

Read more at The Sacramento Bee


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