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Assess School Food Safety: Lawmaker

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A U.S. lawmaker wants federal investigators to assess the risk for E. coli contamination in food used for school meal programs.

The concern expressed by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, is the result of a recent 11-state E. coli outbreak that killed at least two people and sickened about two dozen others, the Associated Press reported.

While no schools were involved in the outbreak, which was linked to ground beef produced by a New York state company, Miller asked the Government Accountability Office to determine what protections are in place at the local, state and federal levels to ensure the safety of school meals.

He also wants the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, to compare the safety and quality of ground beef used in schools with ground beef sold to restaurants and other commercial purchasers, the AP reported.

In September, the GAO released a report that said federal officials failed to inform schools about recalls of potentially tainted canned vegetables and peanut products. As a result, school cafeterias may have unknowingly used the products in meals.

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