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The Poisoning of America's School Lunches.

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posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 10:45 PM

Schools in the dark about tainted lunches

Students at Starbuck Middle School stumbled through the halls just after lunch on Oct. 31, 2007, holding their bellies and moaning. When the vomiting began, teachers knew that it wasn't a Halloween prank.

By midafternoon, almost 70 children waited outside the nurse's office at the school near Milwaukee. "There were so many kids there, it was like, 'Holy cow!' " recalls Michael Hannes, then a seventh-grader who felt "like someone kept punching me in the stomach."

Days would pass before local health officials determined that the tortillas served at Starbuck and four other schools in Racine were to blame for 101 illnesses.

Hold on. There's more:

An Internet search showed them the stunning particulars: The company that supplied the tortillas had a long history of making children sick.

Before the illnesses in Racine, flour tortillas from Chicago's Del Rey Tortilleria caused similar outbreaks at more than a dozen schools in two other states — in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2006, Del Rey recalled tens of thousands of tortillas after health officials linked them to illnesses at schools in Massachusetts and Illinois. And in a 2006 study of prior outbreaks, a panel of top scientists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even offered this warning: "Flour tortillas manufactured by Del Rey hold the potential to cause illness."

Now, here's the best part!

Despite the concerns, the FDA never shared the panel's warning with school officials anywhere.


Despite the concerns, the FDA never shared the panel's warning with school officials anywhere.

The article continues:

USA TODAY analyzed food-borne illness cases logged by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1998 and 2007, the last year for which data were available. The newspaper found more than 470 outbreaks at schools during that period. Those outbreaks sickened at least 23,000 children, and the foods responsible — pasta, chicken tenders, turkey and chocolate milk, among others — are lunchroom staples.

The true toll is likely higher. Based on its own studies, the CDC says millions of food-borne illnesses go unreported each year; no one knows how many involve schoolchildren. After the Racine outbreak, records examined by the school district's health director revealed that 47 kids at five middle schools had gotten sick on a "Taco Day" two weeks before the Halloween illnesses. The cluster would have gone unnoticed if not for the larger outbreak that followed.


Parents who don't pack their child's lunch are left to trust the government — whether at the school or federal level — to do the shopping. In most cases, USA TODAY found, that trust — like the buying itself — is blind:

•Schools have virtually no hope of figuring out where all of the food on a child's lunch tray originates. That's because the food often is handled by many processors and distributors. "There's no way I could possibly keep track," says Katie Wilson, director of the meals program for the Onalaska, Wis., public schools and the former president of the School Nutrition Association, a group of officials who oversee lunch programs.

•If schools determine who made the food they serve, the government provides no timely way for them to check the health and safety records of those companies. Inspection reports on companies that supply food are not posted publicly, and school officials must file formal requests that often take months to fulfill.

•When the government finds problems at companies, it does little to alert parents, schools or food distributors — especially if the company doesn't supply commodities directly to the National School Lunch Program.

The systemic failures are "outrageous … alarming and unacceptable," says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. "Our schools and parents have a right to know where food is coming from and whether it's high-quality."

There's something wrong with a society that shows little concern for the health and well-being of its children.

[edit on 17-11-2009 by loam]

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 11:16 PM
The school lunch program started out as a way to benefit both hungry children and farmers who would be paid for the commodities they grew. At one time there were actual cooks in school kitchens to make nutritious lunches for students, using the govt bought commodities.

About 30 years ago, corporations decided they wanted in on the govt bailouts to agriculture. School kitchens became a place where govt money was used, not to purchase commodities but prepared corporate food.

You didn't need a cook, merely someone who could reheat packaged food or put together simple lunches with packaged goods.

Combine an increasing call for corporations to provide their own inspections and the call for less govt involvement, and you get a disaster like this.

It is not govt per say that is bad. It is a govt that has allowed for too much privatization (euphemism for corporate takeover of taxpayer dollars) and corporate control of govt. Corporations help elect govt leaders and then bribe them with constant contributions.

Schools make money off corporate food sales, too.

With corporations whose bottom line is money controlling and making our lives less secure, we don't need terrorists.

posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 11:58 PM

Originally posted by loam

Is this serious? Is this really what children get in school? That tray is full of crap junk food - can that be real?

If it is real - and it kind of blows me away if it is - how can you expect children to have a proper diet in future if they are fed this junk at school!!?

Man - I really can't believe that picture of total rubbish being served to children.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 12:08 AM
reply to post by Amagnon
I think there are exactly 10 french fries on that young man's platter.

You're right, absolutely awful food. Where's the salads, the soup?

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:38 AM
You kow, as a kid iin elementrary school early to mid 80's
our lucnh cafeteria always served hot dogs* potato chiops, lasagna, french fries* but always made sure we had milk, chocoalte milk or orange juice, from a pint paper container marcus milk*
early to mid 90's in hgih school...cafeteria had 2 coke coca cola, other pepsi. They served pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, fajiatas...
Looking back, wheres the nutrition, outside of the milk? that was replaced with coca cola in the schools?

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:41 AM
Jamie Oliver revolutionized school lunches in England.

The same needs to happen in the US - an opening for entrepreneurs.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:44 AM
What the frack? Potato chips, fries, a hotdog with white bread bun and a kool aide drink? Unbelievable. And the US is wondering why they are fighting an epidemic of Obesity, health and mental health problems. Unimaginable to see something like this is the norm. Blown away. Shall I post an image of my kids lunch? Usually a sandwich on wholemeal with lettuce tomato, bit of unprocessed cheese, 3/4 of an apple, baby carots, some mixed nuts, canteen of water (RO water). It's not rocket science..

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 02:00 AM
The healthy schools act that Clinton got enacted sucks does away with anything unhealthy in the's not the govt's perogitave to take care of children's health, even if the parents aren't doing it.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 03:35 AM
You know, ideally I'd like to say we need to feed the kids organic high quality foods, fruits, veggies, the whole bit. But even in that best case scenario, despite the cost, not to fault them but the little buggers wouldn't even eat it!!!!!

It's time we ban school food. The prospect of healthy school food is a lost cause, surely we would have figured it out over the decades its been in service. Food mass produced as such simply can not be to the quality that these students need and deserve. Kids need higher quality food than adults, it's a fact, yet they eat the worst!

Food lovingly prepared by a parent is better than anything that can be cooked en mass, at least that way it sort of forces the parent to think about what food groups their kid is eating, instead of lazily depositing some bucks a couple times a year into their "account".

[edit on 18-11-2009 by ghaleon12]

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 03:58 AM
ghaleon12 wrote
You know, ideally I'd like to say we need to feed the kids organic high quality foods, fruits, veggies, the whole bit. But even in that best case scenario, despite the cost, not to fault them but the little buggers wouldn't even eat it!!!!!


children eat what they are given to eat from an early age

choice is what has created the problem

there was no choice when I went to school
we either eat what was on our plates or went hungry

thank god we had very good nutritional cooks at my school ....

by the way that child is holding a tray full of ..
chemically enhanced sawdust

is it so difficult to actually feed the kids real food

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 04:05 AM
the school around where i live serve fruit juice that is not real juice but flavored High Fructose Corn Syrup.

this was after they removed all the soda machines because soda was unhealthy.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is not as sweet as cane sugar so the companies put more of it in products.
more High Fructose Corn Syrup means more calories.

Metabolic syndromes

Excess fructose consumption has been hypothesized to be a contributing cause of insulin resistance, obesity,[32] elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, leading to metabolic syndrome

Liver disease

all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.


It has been suggested in a recent British Medical Journal study that high consumption of fructose is even linked to gout. Cases of gout have risen in recent years, despite commonly being thought of as a Victorian disease, and it is suspected that the fructose found in soft drinks (eg, carbonated beverages) and other sweetened drinks is the reason for this.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 09:30 AM
School lunches, like the one depicted in the photo, are pretty bad. Yes. But whatever you believe about their nutritional value, they aren't supposed to make you acutely sick!

This also just in:

Agriculture chief promises better food alerts to schools

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pledged Tuesday that the government will do a better job alerting schools across the nation when it suspects that food for school lunches might be contaminated.

"We understand and appreciate that there has been a … gap in communication, which results in school districts not getting information on a timely basis," Vilsack told lawmakers during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on child nutrition programs.

Ask yourself why no heads role on something like this?


posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 09:36 AM
Yes the stock photo is a pile of junk food.

Strangely the bag of chips may be the most healthy thing on that plate. Lays potato chips: potatoes oil salt. What bothers me is the corporate logo displayed. It shows a subtle battle for the minds of children in brand recognition.

My middle school had a salad bar when I attended, I ate salad a lot.

Yes, this company should never have another contract with a school again. I think they've passed the threshold of callous disregard for children.

[edit on 18-11-2009 by Seiko]

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 10:17 AM
School lunches are far from quality, its basically feeding the masses at the cheapest price. No offense to the lunchroom ladies. When I was growing up we had a few french fries and such but most of our lunches consisted of something baked, with a vegetable and or fruit, a roll and milk. Once in a while we were given a rectangle of pizza. The only time I ever got food poisoning at school was in 1st grade and we found out later it was from a picnic the day before.

The lack of healthy food in schools is even being passed off as normal. A few years ago, a social worker told my sister that she couldn't serve my nieces and nephews hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets etc. as they weren't healthy. My sister pulled out the lunch menu from her childrens' school and showed it to the social worker. It listed hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken nuggets as the main meal choices every day of that month. When my sister asked the social worker why she couldn't feed my nieces and nephews the same things at home, the social worker replied..."the food at the school has been specially chosen buy qualified nutritionists. It is of higher quality and fortified with more vitamins and less fat than the same things you are trying to feed your children in your home."

What a load of hockey, I went to lunch at that school several times with my niece or nephew and let me tell you, that food was greasy, and exactly the same "junk food" I had at home. The school systems buy in bulk from the lowest bidder of contract for supplies and food. Quality isn't as important as cheapest quantity. Its things like this that make me glad I home schooled mine for so long and packed their lunches when they attended public school.

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:15 PM
reply to post by rhiannonslair

Originally posted by rhiannonslair
The lack of healthy food in schools is even being passed off as normal.

The point of this thread is that food borne illness is being passed off as normal.

I don't know about any of you, but that burns me up!

I don't even get to the nutritional considerations....

[edit on 18-11-2009 by loam]

posted on Nov, 18 2009 @ 01:32 PM
I remember the lunch room at the school I went to in 1974-75.
There were at least 15-20 ladies working in there.
They baked from scratch (one woman always was covered in flour) and I remember balanced meals.
Meat, carbs, vegetables, fruit, and so on.

When I was in high school in the early eighties there were only 6 or 7 people working in the kitchen. They opened the bag, poured it in the warming tray and put it under the orange lights.
The only balanced meals were the ones that you brought from home.

The "snack bar" actually had burgers and the like. No soda was allowed nor was candy.

Now a lunch room looks as if the menu came from the corner gas station.
Chips, cookies, candy, soda, sugary juice flavored drinks and so on. The only things they seem to cook are fried.

I think it comes down to the fact that everybody wants to talk about what should be done with education but they hold on to the government regulated crap that is the status quo instead of having competetive school programs.

If parents don't like what happens at school then they should be free to send their kid to a better school. That includes what the kids eat.

How can kids learn if they are either bouncing off the walls from too much junk food or suffering from sugar "crash"?

posted on Nov, 19 2009 @ 07:23 AM
reply to post by loam

Yes I hit the wrong reply to button. I was agreeing with amagnon about the junk food on the plate. Sorry about that.

posted on Dec, 2 2009 @ 01:33 PM

Why a recall of tainted beef didn't include school lunches

When health officials identified an outbreak of salmonella poisonings last summer, they traced the dangerous strain of salmonella to ground beef made at Beef Packers Inc., a major supplier to the National School Lunch Program.

At least 39 people reported getting sick in 11 states, and doctors found that the salmonella infections resisted many common antibiotics. By early August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture convened a committee of experts and urged Beef Packers to recall 825,769 pounds of ground beef made in June at its facility in Fresno.

The recall, announced by the governmentAug. 6, covered only ground beef sent to certain retailers. In the days after it was announced, government and company spokesmen said meat sent to schools was not included.

Something is very wrong here...

posted on Dec, 2 2009 @ 02:13 PM
reply to post by Amagnon

Uh ya, that's pretty much a common lunch right there. It gets worse if your poor, like i was .. well, poor enough to not afford food, but white enough to not get free lunches.. In highschool I usually settled for some cookies and a soda from the machine, and what ever crap I grabbed from home. And it wasn't that much worse than the real food. Aside from being poisoned, have you looked into the ingredients? Grade F meats, preservatives, foods that were probably 10% edible biological foods... i mean, that crap was bad.. And whats weird is I remember in the early 90's the food being not that bad, and the serving sizes were bigger, and I believe it was $1.25 for a whole meal.

posted on Dec, 2 2009 @ 02:32 PM
When I was in public school, I remember we had pizza and burgers everyday at school, with french fries and other junk food, as much as we could eat.
I remember one kid made a pagoda out of fries once.
My parents moved me and my sisters to a private school where they had a real cool.
Usually had at least one or two bit of greens with our meal, and had a actual cook. Nice guy.

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