Food Safety of the National School Lunch Act

Driven to increase the quality of food in the NSLP, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) undertook an ambitious agenda to provide schools with a consistent supply of safe, low-fat ground beef. Beginning in 2002, AMS established a statistically based vendor certification and supply chain quality management program for the purchase of ground beef and pork for NSLP under the Technical Requirements Schedule (GB‑2006, the current version). The program has enjoyed considerable success in reducing pathogen levels and controlling fat content in lean beef and pork that is provided to school children.

Under the program, Meat Grading and Certification (MGC) Branch agents enforce continuous auditing and in-plant monitoring as long as the contractor is in the program. Microbial and fat SPC charts and graphs for microbial levels and fat content are monitored for process assessment purposes on a daily basis.