Rep. Loretta Sanchez Calls for Investigation of Military Food Services Contract

Questions about food safety, excessive costs facing Marine Corps’ primary food vendor

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) today announced that she is asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the U.S. Marine Corps’ primary food services vendor for excessive waste and possible food safety concerns. Sodexo, which is currently nearing the end of its eight-year, $881 million contract with the Marine Corps, has been under scrutiny following multiple reports of food safety non-compliance and a drastic, mid-contract change to its food operations.

“The government has an obligation to use taxpayer dollars responsibly,” said Rep. Sanchez, who is the ranking female member on the Armed Services Committee. “There are significant concerns that Sodexo’s food services have been more expensive and less effective than originally promised. I’m asking the GAO to investigate these claims, which will help our Armed Forces better evaluate future food service proposals. This is part of a larger effort to target waste in government.”

In 2001, the Marine Corps decided to consolidate its food service contracts at the national level in the hopes that it would save about $20 million per year and free up 594 food specialists for other assignments. To meet these goals and win the new contract, Sodexo proposed centralizing much of the Marine Corps food production at a “cook-chill” facility in Tennessee, where food would be prepared, refrigerated, and shipped around the country for reheating on base. But in July 2007, Sodexo terminated its Marine-related operations at the facility even though its “cook-chill” technology gave Sodexo a competitive advantage during the bidding process.

Sodexo’s decision came just one month after a voluntary USDA recall of nearly 3,000 pounds of chicken that may have been contaminated with the Listeria bacteria, some of which was shipped to Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. In fact, public records show that there had been a pattern of food safety problems at the facility both before and after the USDA recall, including 70 USDA records of food safety noncompliance between December 2005 and September 2009.

  4 comments for “Rep. Loretta Sanchez Calls for Investigation of Military Food Services Contract

  1. Slatemag
    April 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    What programs/fundings has she brought back to her home district in the last decade as a “ranking female member” of this committee? Nothing. It’s a waste.

  2. Slatemag
    April 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    According to Gallup poll today, an incumbent like Loretta has 28% chance to be re-elected and 65% chance to be DUMPED this Nov. Time to call U-Haul

  3. Disgruntled Democrat
    April 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

    This link has the same story but it has a disclaimer at the bottom saying “Distributed by SEIU.” I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Sodexo is a non-union shop and its competitor is a union shop that has forced contributions to Washington Democrats like Sanchez.

    I thought voting for Obama was going to get us out of these wars but instead Sanchez focuses on food contracts. She is so out of touch. These unions don’t care about protecting the environment or stopping the US industrial war machine. I’m voting for Ceci Iglesias. We need someone not corrupted by Washington.

  4. Robert Severson
    April 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    It is obvious this Democratic Congresswoman is tied to one of the female Hispanic company owners that is bidding on the Marine Corps food contract,(Superoior Services) this is a well known fact in the industry, Superior Services uses this congresswoman often when she is bidding on government contracts. I think the GAO shuld investigate Superior Services in this matter and see where the congresswoman got their information from.

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