Tuesday, December 22, 2009
How Safe is School Lunch?
Last summer, dozens of people got sick with antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Officials traced the outbreak to ground beef made at Beef Packers and the company later recalled 825,000 pounds of ground beef. The government emphasized that meat sent to schools wasn't included in the recall. Now, USA Today has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act that raise questions about whether the government did enough to ensure the meat was safe before sending it to schoolchildren.
The government paid Beef Packers hundreds of thousands of dollars for ground beef that was made during the questionable dates. Of the four orders that were fulfilled by Beef Packers using ground beef that was made during the dates covered by the recall, one tested positive for salmonella. That order was rejected. However, the other three went through, despite the fact that experts say the methods used to test the meat are very unreliable. Most worrying of all might be that Beef Packers was providing meat for the school lunch program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will carry out an "independent review" of its quality control procedures in response to the USA Today investigation.
(via USA Today)