Beef ban in schools likely to be extended
A ban on serving meat in local school cafeterias is expected to last longer than expected after this weekend’s record-sized recall of beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse, a Grass Valley School District official said Monday.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef Sunday from a facility in Chino, where workers allegedly were found mistreating animals. Local school cafeterias stopped serving beef after a recommendation from the state department of education when the slaughterhouse first came under scrutiny about two weeks ago.
“(The department of education) said they would review the order in two weeks, but I suspect they’ll now delay and continue to ensure that schools don’t serve the recalled beef,” said Jon Byerrum, superintendent of Grass Valley School District. “We won’t serve beef until we are given an ‘all clear’ from the state department of education.”
The Grass Valley School District Child Nutrition Services serves lunch to most elementary school districts in the county, Byerrum said. About 2,000 to 2,400 students participate in the lunch program each day, he estimated.
About 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs nationwide and probably has been consumed, officials said.
“I don’t believe we had any beef from the recalled meat,” Byerrum said. “We stopped ordering and serving beef about two weeks ago and didn’t use the beef in the storage (bought before the notification arrived).”
The cost to the school district for not using the meat in the storage would be minimal, Byerrum estimated.
“I don’t believe we had much meat in our storage,” he added.
Byerrum asserted that food served by the Child Nutrition Services is safe and has improved over the years.
“We follow all the nutritional guidelines by the federal government,” Byerrum said. “The fat content has gone down. The sugar content has gone down. The whole grain products have increased. We’re limited by the constraints of the federal lunch program that reimburses us at the rate of about $2.50 per lunch packet.”
Until beef is served again, students will have the choice of several other dishes on their lunch menu, including various chicken meals and pizza, Byerrum said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4229.
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