Salmonella--Coming to a School Near You?

  1. GPS1504
    Two news stories in one week about salmonella outbreaks...wow. First it was Foster Farms, which was shut down due to cock roaches and antibiotic resistant salmonella and this time it is Tyson, who has recalled 34,000lbs of tainted chicken. The Foster Farms chicken made more than 400 people sick and the Tyson outbreak has made seven people ill so far. Foster Farms has since re-opened; it was closed on Wednesday and allowed to open the following Saturday, which is a short time to rectify a cock roach infestation and the presence of antibiotic resistant salmonella strains if you ask me.

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    While the Tyson chicken cannot be purchased at retail outlets, that does not mean you and your family are immune from contact with it. The recalled chicken was mechanically separated and intended for \"institutional use.\" One form of institution, as we all know, is a prison institution, thus it should not come as much of a surprise to hear that prisoners are getting sick from this chicken. An institution, however, is defined as \'a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose.\' While that could mean a lot of things, one of the more concerning things is that salmonella riddled chicken could have been coming to a school near you, perhaps even the one your children attend. Luckily the recall is now in effect and this chicken should not be served in any form of institutional setting, but it is mighty concerning that it came pretty close in the first place...too close, in fact, for some unlucky people who consumed it, two of whom are still hospitalized.

    If you have never given much thought to the items served in school lunches, now is a good time to start thinking about it. Many of us have been out of school for a long time and it is our own children who are now subject to the horrors of school lunch mystery meat. I was fortunate enough to, many moons ago, attend to a school in Louisiana where it seemed they actually cooked real meals; chicken nuggets were never on the menu. That is not the case universally, however. I would actually say that school was the exception to the rule in terms of the lunch it provided, but times have changed since then. Now feeding kids is all about what is fast to make and cheap to buy, and unfortunately, also dangerous and unhealthy at the same time.

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    While the school system may have dodged a bullet on this chicken, it really is time to do something about what is being served in schools. The chicken Tyson is recalling was shipped in October, so at any point in the past three months, children could have been served a heaping helping of salmonella for lunch. Poultry needs to be heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees to kill harmful bacteria. The question that remains is how heated do Americans have to get in order to stop tainted food from being sold/served to us and our families?

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