Cantwell, Alaska Senators Introduce Legislation to Put More American Seafood in School Lunches

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced S. 2529, legislation that would strengthen the Buy American provisions within the National School Lunch program to require that fish and fish products served through the program have to be caught in U.S. waters, or in the case of tuna, caught by a U.S. flagged vessel.

“American caught seafood is the healthy choice for school children around the country,” said Senator Cantwell. “Our bill will ensure fish and fish products served in our schools are American caught, providing nutritious meals to help students grow and stay healthy. Buying American fish will also bolster our commercial fishing industry, support thousands of jobs and prevent overfishing.

Current law can result in foreign fish products being served in school lunches.  In some cases, fish served in school lunches are caught in foreign waters, by foreign fishermen, frozen and processed in foreign countries, then shipped to the U.S. for secondary processing. In these instances, our children are being served, and our tax dollars subsidizing, an inferior product.

S. 2529, would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by adding an additional condition to the “Buy American” provision of the law to require that any fish or fish product acquired under the Act be harvested from U.S. waters, and end the practice of the U.S. spending tax dollars to subsidize displacement of high quality, nutritious U.S. fish products with inferior products from abroad.