As reported here earlier, "On February 12, 2010, Huntington Meat Packing, Inc., expanded its January 18, 2010 beef recall to include approximately 4.9 million pounds of beef and veal products that it produced in 2009 and the first few days of this year. "
Now Kalamazoo TV station, WWMT, reports that schools in that area are endeavoring to figure out whether or not that meat is on the menu in the local school lunch program. It is not always so easy to determine, and is another strong reminder of why being able to trace our food back from fork to farm is so important. Different school districts have had different reactions:
Grand Rapids Public Schools says its beef is unaffected, while Kalamazoo Schools have pulled its beef products until it’s sure they’re not at risk. Portage Schools does get its beef from a supplier connected to the recall, and has pulled beef from the menu
Portage Schools cafeterias are supplied by a subsidiary of Huntington called Chartwells, and to err on the side of caution, the district says for the time being, students will not be eating any beef products associated with the Huntington brand.
According to WWMT, Chartwells has released a statement about the situation, which stated, in part:
Chartwells top priority is the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff of the school districts we serve. Products that may be affected include; ground beef, beef burrito filling mix, ground beef patties, veal patties, diced beef, and sliced beef.
Calls for immediate public release of thorough and accurate distribution lists for recalled products are common here, and at marlerblog. This is just another example of why the issue deserves so much attention.
Accomplishing this requires two things. First, that corporations know both where they shipped products, and where the products they received came from. While better traceability regulations are needed, there are already regulations on the books that require this. Compliance with the regulations is a problem.
Second, public agencies must actively seek this information disclose the information as soon as they have it.