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Pingree Urges Flexibility in Food Grading

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree is taking the Department of Agriculture to task for its rules governing food grading for school meal programs. During a hearing on the agency's budget, Pingree said perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are being rejected because they are small, or blemished.

“In the USDA grading of food, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables that don’t make the grade-A label," the Maine Democrat said. "But they might just be a smaller apple or, you know, slightly dented, bruised, but perfectly edible.”

USDA Undersecretary Kevin Concannon said the agency is trying to be more flexible.  Concannon told Pingree that rules in some agency programs have been revised in order to reduce food waste.




Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.