Blake Morrison and Peter Eisler report in today’s edition of the USA Today:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced sweeping steps Thursday to "assure the safety and quality of food" purchased for the National School Lunch Program.

The measures include tightening requirements on companies that supply ground beef to schools, testing the beef more

At least seven children have been confirmed ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections, with another six illnesses awaiting confirmation from health officials in an E. coli outbreak among students of Galena Elementary School and their siblings.  In an article about the Floyd County E. coli outbreak that looked into whether the outbreak was part of an E. coli outbreak traced to consumption of Topps Meats ground beef, the Louisville Courier-Journal interviewed school district and health department officials about the investigation into the  Floyd County children’s illnesses.

Dave Rarick, a spokesman for the New Albany-Floyd County schools, said the district does not use frozen hamburger supplied by the Topps Meat Co. in New Jersey, which on Tuesday announced a recall of more than 330,000 pounds of frozen meat because of possible E. coli contamination.

The Floyd County cases all involve students or siblings of students at Galena Elementary in Floyds Knobs, with seven of the cases confirmed as caused by the E. coli bacteria and six others deemed probable.

Rarick said the school system uses precooked hamburger supplied by the J.T.M. Co.

Continue Reading School Lunch source of E. coli?

school lunch

Libby Quaid from the Associated Press wrote a comprehensive story about the dangers of the school lunch program:

Millions of children eat in school cafeterias that don’t get the twice-yearly health inspections required by Congress to help prevent food poisoning.

Schools are supposed to get two visits from health inspectors every year. But one in 10 schools didn’t get inspected at all last year, according to Agriculture Department data obtained by The Associated Press. Thirty percent were visited only once.

"Do you want to go to a restaurant that hasn’t been inspected?" asked Ken Kelly, attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer group that has studied cafeteria safety.

Continue Reading Many School Cafeterias Rarely Inspected

WLTX News (SC) reports that a Winnsboro daycare warned parents that under-cooked food might have been served to students. The school issued a memo to parents Thursday afternoon.
“It simply states that some of the chicken served Thursday, February 9th was undercooked,” said George Pinckney, a spokesperson for Fairfield County School District.
Parents are encouraged

Shanna Shipman of the Pekin Times reports that local parents and students can breathe – and eat – easier, following assurance from Aramark Food Service that the tortilla shells suspected to have caused illness among District 150 students are not used in other local schools.
Joyce Phillips of Aramark Food Services at Pekin Community High School was on hand at Monday’s District 303 Board meeting to assure the board that recent concerns regarding food safety in Peoria are not directly relevant to Aramark services in Pekin.
An inquiry was made at the meeting by board member Jim Mangan in light of three recent incidents in Peoria and Mason counties resulting in large numbers of local school children becoming ill at school.Continue Reading Local school districts free of suspected food poisoning product

Brock Spencer of WHOI News (IL) reports that Peoria’s District 150 is pulling some food items off its menu for safety reasons.
In the past six weeks, there have been two separate outbreaks with around 120 kids saying they felt ill after lunch.
At each of those lunches, the district schools served tacos.
Now, the