State Legislature rejects ban on antibiotic treated meats for school lunches
(Salinas Californian, CA)
By Jake Henshaw


Lawmakers Wednesday decided that schools should continue to decide what meat and poultry to serve students, rejecting a proposal to ban products treated routinely with antibiotic drugs.


At the urging of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shfater, amended his measure, Senate Bill 416, to drop the ban in favor of encouraging schools to buy meat products from animals only treated with drugs when they are ill.

But schools have to report their reasons to state education officials when they don't buy the meat and poultry from animals raised to largely without drugs.

Florez said that the amendments ``are not the direction I want,'' but he faced questions and criticism about the impact of his proposed ban on the health of animals and the ability of schools to comply with his proposal.

The Senate Health Committee approved SB 173, Florez's bill to grant state health officials the power to order recalls of contaminated food and establish other steps to address threats to food safety.

The bill was amended to cover only growers and processors and to include good farming practices as appropriate, his office said.

The bills next go to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 4-30-09






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