Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eat Me

Part 1:  Eat our nuggets...

Raeford, North Carolina, January 30, 2012 -  A pre-schooler at West Hoke Elementary School did not eat the lunch her mother prepared for her. 

No big news here, right? 

Sometimes kids get picky. 

Sometimes kids get stubborn. 

Sometimes kids get Chicken Nuggets. 

Yeah, sometimes kids get to eat stuff that begins 'life' as THIS...

Mechanically-Separated Chicken for...
McNuggets!!!  Yumm-o!

In this instance, the child in question didn't want to eat Chicken Nuggets.  In fact, she didn't eat her intended lunch because it was taken away from her by the Inspector working for the Division of Child Development and Early Education - Department of Health and Human Services. 


Because the child's homemade Turkey and Swiss sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice did not meet published USDA guidelines.  Yup, this being the case, the 'lunch box inspector' deemed the meal provided for the child by her Mother to be 'nutritionally-challenged' and the inspector supplemented the meal by providing the girl three Chicken Nuggets (made from the pink 'goo' illustrated above).

To add insult to injury, the school then charged the parent $1.25 for the 'yummy' deep-fried mechanically-separated meat product it provided to her child (without the Mom's approval, consent, or knowledge in advance). 

But don't worry, it's really for the best.  No one takes care of you like the USDA - right?  Yeah, right. 

For the complete story, you can read it online here:  Carolina Journal Online

This, it turns out, is but Part One of the story. 

However, like they say on television at 2am Saturday morning, "But wait, there's more!!!"

Yes, more.   

More begins now.  

Part II: Green Applesauce - Eat it, eat it, yes you will...
(Do not read the following while eating, drinking, or operating heavy machinery.) 

MSNBC Online: November 4, 2011

FDA: Moldy applesauce repackaged by school lunch supplier

A Washington state fruit processor that supplies the nation’s schools and a baby food maker is under scrutiny by federal health regulators for repackaging applesauce contaminated with several kinds of potentially dangerous, multi-colored molds, has learned.

Food and Drug Administration officials this week posted a warning letter to Snokist Growers of Yakima, Wash., saying the company cannot ensure the safety of moldy applesauce and fruit puree that has been reconditioned for human consumption.

Products recalled earlier this year by Snokist were blamed for illnesses of nine North Carolina children who became sick after eating applesauce at school.

The latest warning came after FDA officials said Snokist failed to adequately address problems identified during a June inspection in which regulators found large, laminated bags of fruit products that were supposed to be sealed and sterile, but instead were broken open and tainted with white, brown, blue, blue-green and black mold. Some of the compromised bags were bloated and one had “a strong fermented odor,” the report said.

The FDA’s letter identified at least eight instances last year in which Snokist had reprocessed the moldy applesauce into canned goods for human consumption.  The inspection report said Snokist documents showed the company had reprocessed mold-contaminated applesauce at least 13 times between January 2008 and May 2011, repackaging food into 15-ounce cans, 106-ounce-cans, 300-gallon bags and 4.2-ounce, single-serve cups.

Cinammon on top? 
Or 'Commonous Mouldus Nasteus'?

On one hand (Part I), North Carolina elementary school food service folks are taking food away from 'small humans' in an effort to assure that they receive the daily-nutrional value required by the USDA.  This, regardless of what their parents pack for them.  Because when it comes to raising a child, "It takes a Bureaucracy". 

On the other hand (Part II), since North Carolina schools are buying prepared food 'in bulk' from the low-cost bidder, well, you HAVE to expect a little mold in your food.  I'm not sure how the USDA feels about this, but I'm sure that IF they had known about it...

Huh, what's that?

The USDA DID know about it? Federal Inspectors Told to Ignore Moldy Food At Local Plant, February 13, 2012

The KING 5 Investigators have learned that federal inspectors complained for years about significant food safety violations at a Yakima plant but their superiors didn’t put a stop to it.

"I thought it was terrible because I have never seen anything like that in my life," said Jerry Pierce, a recently retired U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector who was assigned to the Snokist Growers plant in 2008. He said he watched Snokist employees “reprocess” and sell applesauce that belonged in the garbage bin.

“It's appalling that the company would take those measures just to make a few dollars," said Wendy Alguard, the USDA inspector who worked at Snokist from 2009 until the summer of last year.

Snokist Growers is a century-old cannery that processes and packages 50,000 tons of cherries, apples, pears and plums each year. The inspectors say that leaks in the packaging would cause 300 gallon bags of applesauce to spoil. Snokist would scrape thick mold off the top of the spoiled applesauce, heat-treat the remaining product and then send it down the production line for sale to the public.

The KING 5 Investigators obtained public records showing Snokist reprocessed more than 23,000 gallons of moldy applesauce in the year 2010 alone. Other records show Snokist's own consultant concluded in 2009 that the mold in applesauce "would not be eliminated by your firm's thermal process." Records show the company continued selling it to customers.

The inspectors (Moos Note: yes, the USDA Inspectors) say they repeatedly told their boss about the moldy applesauce.

"I guess they promised my boss they wouldn't do it again and within a week they were doing it again,” said Pierce.

"I had contact with my boss many times and he basically told me to mind my own business," said Alguard.
The USDA had inspectors in Snokist’s plant because the company is a major supplier to the national school lunch program. The USDA grades and certifies food deemed acceptable for school lunches. Alguard and Pierce say they did their best to make sure that reprocessed applesauce didn’t get into school lunch food.

Boys, girls, Moms and Dads, sit back and relax knowing that the USDA knows what's best for you and your kids...

Deep-fried chicken nuggets and moldy applesauce

Bon App├ętit!!!
Just be sure to pay the helpful SEIU Cafeteria Worker on the way out...  Assuming, of course, that she's not on strike at the time. 

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