new bill seeks to reduce the amount of exemptions for CDFA’s Buy California program. The public-private partnership encourages food retailers to purchase local products, but it allows exceptions when other bids come in lower.

This week, Asm. Eduardo Garcia of Coachella put together a bill to change that. It would prohibit a retailer from selling anything grown outside of California unless the “product is not available from farms located in the state.” It does not add any criminal penalties for violators, however.

Garcia created the measure just a day before the Assembly departed for a month-long summer recess. Yet the bill, a "gut and amend" of an earlier bill, currently resides in the Senate, which has two weeks until recess.

In 2017, the governor signed Senate Bill 730, requiring the Education Department to support schools in complying with the federal Buy American provision. The bill raised concerns that spending state tax dollars on imported food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, however, growers in the heart of California peach country were still finding imported peaches in school lunches (photo).