http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2008/02/22/schools-find-alternate-beef-supplier


Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 22, 2008

Schools find alternate beef supplier

Westland Meat Company products removed from district after massive recall

by Emily Atwood

Beef has returned to Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) school menus following what is being called the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

Responding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) large recall of Westland Meat Company beef, the district removed the company's products from the schools and began receiving beef from another source.

Frank Castro, director of nutritional services for the district, said the USDA either supplies raw meat to schools or to a processor which delivers cooked and frozen meat to schools. The district receives meat from a processor that has found a new beef provider since the recall.

"We were alerted at the end of January," Castro said. "The first week, we pulled any items that might be recalled."

As of Monday, the USDA issued a two-year recall of meat by Westland.

"That's for anyone who has meat from (as far back as) Feb. 1, 2006," Castro said. "They need to get rid of that."

Recalls were issued based on an incident in August, meaning the meat has likely already been consumed. So far, no illnesses among California school children who may have eaten the beef in question have been reported. USDA spokesman Keith Williams said the recall was done primarily to revoke the USDA's seal of inspection for the meat because of processing procedures, not because of contamination or the risk of illness.

Pleasanton parents and students need not worry about the beef served in the 10,000 to 15,000 meals served throughout the district each week, according to Castro.

"The USDA inspects meat in its raw state," he said, adding that the meat is received processed and cooked. "All of our leads are trained in food safety. We follow safe food handling from time delivered to time the food is delivered to the students."

Comments

Posted by Isabelle, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 24, 2008 at 9:47 am

The meat used too be sooooooo digusting.


Posted by PToWN94566, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 25, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I agree. I remember the hamburgers looking like nasty little organisms that were still alive. Ick!!! In high school all I ate where those sandwiches from the place around the corner (Amador).


Posted by Jon, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Feb 29, 2008 at 8:06 am

I hope the school district can be convinced to not only change meat vendors, but switch to a higher quality of meat in the long run. The "feed" recipe used in the modern meat industry is carefully designed to produce high volume meat with marbled fat, period. The marbled fat does make the meat more tender and some argue that the tastes better (I disagree), but you would probably not find anyone outside the beef industry (and otherwise credible) who would promote the nutritional value, working conditions, animal wellfare practices, land use practices, and air quality effects of these factory farms.

There are similar problems with poultry and "the other white meat" (by the way, there is something very wrong with white pork - flavor and nutrician).

Fortunately, grass fed beef is returning as are other high quality small farm foods. High quality chicken is still pretty difficult to find, but that would improve as well if the USDA would stop imposing safety rules designed for factory farms on the little guys that don't have the same issues.

Jon