SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin is questioning the federal government’s role in the National School Lunch Program.

Akin, who now serves in the U.S. House, was asked Thursday about the program, which provides money and surplus food for school lunches. Akin said he’s not opposed to school lunches but questions whether states rather than the federal government should support them.

Akin’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, says the lunch program helps schools feed students and provides a use for excess farm products. She says the costs should not be passed to schools or to state or local taxpayers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports an average of 646,000 Missouri students participated in the lunch program last year. Nationwide, there were more than 30 million.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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