IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 25, 2013
Mr. Begich introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs
To allow traditional foods to be served at public facilities.
This Act may be cited as the
Traditional Foods Nourishment Act of
In this Act:
The term Alaska Native means a person who is a member of any Native village, Village Corporation, or Regional Corporation, as those terms are defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act ( 43 U.S.C. 1602 ).
Food service program
The term food service program includes—
food service at a residential child care facility with a license from an appropriate State agency;
a child nutrition program (as defined in section 25(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act ( 42 U.S.C. 1769f(b) );
food service at a hospital, clinic, or long-term care facility; and
a senior meal program.
Indian; Indian tribe
The terms Indian and Indian tribe have the meanings given those terms in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act ( 25 U.S.C. 450b ).
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.
The term traditional food means food that has traditionally been prepared and consumed by an Indian tribe.
The term traditional food includes—
wild game meat;
The term tribal organization has the meaning given the term in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act ( 25 U.S.C. 450b ).
Congress finds that—
consumption of traditional foods is proven to benefit health, physical well-being, and fitness;
the National Institutes of Health has indicated that an increase in the consumption of traditional foods results in positive health effects among Alaska Natives;
the leading cause of death among Alaska Natives is diet-related health problems resulting in cancer and heart disease;
traditional foods such as wild salmon, marine mammals, migratory birds, moose, caribou, berries, and plants can have a positive health impact when consumed regularly;
the Department of Agriculture and the Economic Research Center have indicated that food from local sources is proven to be fresher and less processed and to retain more nutrients;
providing access to traditional foods in food service programs promotes healthier lifestyles;
many patients find that traditional foods provide comfort while undergoing treatment or recovery;
opening food service programs to the donation of traditional foods would aid patients receiving care in a public facility physically and mentally during the healing process;
food plays an incredibly large part in the culture and lifestyle of a community and expanding traditional food options to school systems would promote more extensive cultural education;
by increasing demand for local produce, economic stimulation can occur, furthering the development of local communities;
providing local food donations can lower the cost of meal programs in schools, resulting in more financially stable beneficiaries and a reduction in expenditures by the Federal Government on the child nutrition program (as defined in section 25(b) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1769f(b));
the program established by this Act would bring communities together;
the expansion of opportunities for the donation of traditional foods supports hunters;
game hunters are required to harvest all of the edible meat from most large game; and
this Act provides a direct opportunity for hunters to donate the meat to food service programs.
The purposes of this Act are—
to provide access to traditional foods in food service programs;
to encourage increased consumption of traditional foods to decrease health disparities among Indians, particularly Alaska Natives; and
to provide alternative food options for food service programs.
Service of traditional foods in food service programs
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall allow the donation to and serving of traditional food through a food service program at a public facility or a nonprofit facility, including a facility operated by an Indian tribe or a tribal organization, that primarily serves Indians if the operator of the food service program—
ensures that the food is received whole, gutted, gilled, as quarters, or as a roast, without further processing;
makes a reasonable determination that—
the animal was not diseased;
the food was butchered, dressed, transported, and stored to prevent contamination, undesirable microbial growth, or deterioration; and
the food will not cause a significant health hazard or potential for human illness;
carries out any further preparation or processing of the food at a different time or in a different space from the preparation or processing of other food for the applicable program to prevent cross-contamination;
cleans and sanitizes food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils after processing the traditional food; and
labels donated traditional food with the name of the food and stores the traditional food separately from other food for the applicable program, including through storage in a separate freezer or refrigerator or in a separate compartment or shelf in the freezer or refrigerator.
The United States, an Indian tribe, and a tribal organization shall not be liable in any civil action for any damage, injury, or death caused to any person by the donation to or serving of traditional foods through a food service program.
Rule of construction
Nothing in paragraph (1) alters any liability or other obligation of the United States under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act ( 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq. ).