This week a photograph surfaced from Hawkins County School District in East Tennessee of meat on a school lunch tray. At least it looked like meat. At first glace, Americans keeping up with current events would think this is part of Michelle Obama’s disgusting new school lunch program, but no. It turns out it was years old and had gotten lost in a freezer and someone thought was a good idea to feed the kids.
[A parent was] told by a cook at Cherokee High School that “the meat was bad,” but that cook was allegedly “told by the manager to cover it with gravy to give it a better taste.”
Well, yeah. The freezer burn alone after all that time would cover the taste of anything let alone spoilage. Even if food can last forever frozen, that’s disgusting.
As it turns out the mystery meat was pork, and no children got sick from it. But that wasn’t the point. What cut is not mentioned in the news reports. That the meat was dated “2009” was.
Director of Schools Steve Starnes told WBIR, ”There were some meats with dates of 2009, 10, 11 in the freezer. Our child nutrition supervisor had the cafeteria managers look at the meat, do the tests, and see if it was OK. The decision was made to serve it.” WBIR reports:
This writer used to work in hunger relief for a food bank. We would never have actually given out anything that old. Doesn’t matter if it’s tainted. It’s gross. But what is really disgusting is what the Hawkins County Commissioner had to say:
“These high-schoolers – they understand if they see something they are not going to like they don’t eat it. But when you get to these kindergartners, first- and second-graders, do they really know if the meat is bad or not?” said [Michael] Herrell.
He said that Cherokee Comprehensive High School served the pork after a debate.
“The actual woman making a stink about it said it smelled so bad they made gravy to put over the meat to give it a smell and give it a better taste,” said Herrell.
Everyone likes to see money saving in the public schools and no food wasted, but this is disgusting. As of last week, a new food inventory system has been put in place in the Hawkins County Schools. All outdated items were discarded.