Schools find alternate beef supplier
Westland Meat Company products removed from district after massive recall
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."