not letting that whole e-coli tainted thing go.

Sorry I’m still on this rant, I really am. I do actually have lots of great news to share…I promise to get to that in a minute. It’s just that I think my search engine may be broken. If I Google search (texas+school +hair +four-year old), I get 927,000 hits about how Mesquite ISD wants a pre-schooler to cut his hair. If I search (texas+school+ huntington+ meat+ recall +2010 +e-coli) I get 6,800. I must be searching wrong. Surely, the little boy and his recent hair debacle isn’t more important than that of our kids eating possibly tainted meat. Clearly, this has to be a misstep on my part. I must have slept through the recent bit on the evening news that showed outraged parents storming their school boards, demanding they remove the meat from their kid’s lunch menu. I obviously missed the part where parents are interviewed, voicing their concerns about the recall…just like they did with that kid’s hair.
Last week, after seeing an article in USA Today, I learned that our schools are serving up e-coli tainted meat, and they don’t really seem to care. I posted about this earlier and gave a quick shout out to all my buddies on Facebook. Since I’m one of those parents/people who don’t mind asking questions (no matter who you are), I offered to ask area school districts about this recall on behalf of my friends. The school responses were pretty astounding.

All of them gave me the usual/vague  “we constantly get updates from the USDA”, “act accordingly per the USDA”, “have pulled and isolated any meat included in the recall”, etc. While I’m thankful for their quick responses, I am left with some very unanswered questions.  

Once again, I find myself needing to be a little more specific.

So, with that being said, I am taking some time out to try to nip this thing in the bud. I am writing a call to action letter for Texas schools to stop serving any taco/burrito related food item until they can tell parents the exact place that their taco meat came from.  I will be forwarding it to the Texas and local PTA’s, TEA, and school districts in the surrounding area. . Here’s the jist: (my letter won’t be so rude, of course. I am a lady afterall;)

  •  According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, secondary companies and distributors will contact you if you received this product. 
    School districts and schools may get a call either from a company or a distributor about product they may have received or from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service when they conduct recall effectiveness checks.

Secondary companies may call my kid’s school about a product they may have received from the USDA? This recall doesn’t even involve the program. This stuff was purchased separately…by our individual school districts.

  •  On February 26, the USDA expanded the recall in a 130 page document…for just the hundreds of retail locations that they have found..so far…with not one school mentioned.

 Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory..or at least it should be. The USDA admits that it takes roughly 10 days to put together a list of places that may be involved in a recall. Lets all keep in mind that they haven’t extended this recall to any actual schools, just retail establishments.  So, until they look at school’s, your’s kid’s district won’t  know until 10 days after that.

  • Caleb Weaver, a USDA spokesperson, has said that the USDA met last Wednesday to “focus on how to identify suppliers of source material in products testing positive for E. coli O157:H7.” 

Is it just me, or does Caleb kinda sound like they haven’t figured that out, just yet? If you are meeting three weeks after expanding the original recall, that should have taken place 347 days ago, I’m not 100% confident all of the schools are aware. (*add a few more days to that 10 day estimate from above)

  •  -Arlington ISD Food Director Jackie Anderson said she did not get the news through a phone call or e-mail. It came in a letter sent via regular mail from Fernando’s in Compton, California, makers of a taco snack.

Guess who isn’t on that recall list  that the schools are “getting constant updates” about. Yep, Fernando’s. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record.

  • -Did you know Plano ISD had the meat?  They have pulled it (back in February), but they have yet to send a letter informing parents. They are still holding on to it waiting for disposal instructions.

Nice.

It’s a sad day when Petco informs me of meat recalls before our kids school. Not sad for my pets,of course, but you know what I mean. I’ll keep you posted on the school’s responses. In the meantime….keep packing your kids lunch and tell your friends.

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