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What GAO Found The four departments—Agriculture (USDA), Education (Education), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (DOL)—and their selected components used guidance for multiple purposes, such as clarifying or interpreting regulations and providing grant administration information.
More than 28 million children receive meals daily through the federal school meal programs. Providing meals that are safe is especially important because young children have a higher risk of complications from some foodborne illnesses.
Recent trends in children's health and eating habits are alarming. Over 15 percent of children are overweight--double the rate in 1980. Children's diets are high in fat but low in fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.
Fruits and vegetables are a critical source of nutrients and other substances that help protect against chronic diseases. Yet fewer than one in four Americans consumes the 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The national school lunch and breakfast programs provide inexpensive or free meals to more than 27 million children each day. During the 1990s, nearly 300 outbreaks of foodborne illness at the nation's schools sickened 16,000 students.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the safety of foods served in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, focusing on the extent: (1) of foodborne illness outbreaks related to meals served in schools; (2) to which Department of Agriculture (USDA)-donated...