Bill would make it easier to get native food into Alaska foodservice establishments

The legislation would reduce red tape involved in getting USDA approval for serving native foods in non-commercial operations.

Aug. 14—For years, leaders in the Alaska Native community have tried to negotiate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for permission to serve traditional foods to those who need them most. Now a bill from U.S. Sen. Mark Begich aims to eliminate the red tape involved with serving traditional foods in programs in Alaska and across the nation.

“The Traditional Foods Nourishment Act of 2013” would make it easier to serve Alaska Native foods in facilities like hospitals, schools, childcare and eldercare facilities. While some Native foods are already served in parts of Alaska—several school districts have popular fish-to-school programs—it’s been a struggle to incorporate more traditional foods in programs.