Recalled meat delivered to districts

Eight school districts in San Mateo County received a cut of the 143 million pounds of beef that was recalled last month due to a Southern California slaughterhouse’s questionable practices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture disclosed.

Although only one-third of the 24 Peninsula school districts received the beef, the report does not indicate how many pounds they received or how much, if any, the students ate.

So far, no illnesses have been linked to the meat.

Pressure from lawmakers prompted the USDA to list all U.S. school districts affected by the massive recall. Though federal and state officials alerted school districts about the recall, prompting schools to wipe beef from their menus, the agency’s 226-page document was the first time recipients were publicly named.

Officials for the Redwood City Elementary School District said they immediately pulled their beef the day the recall was announced. The district destroyed two cases of beef worth a combined $200 upon USDA orders, according to food service director Anna Lague.

“[The recall] took quite a bit of attention and time … we had to make a lot of menu adjustments,” Lague said.

The USDA has already allowed schools to serve beef again. Lague said her district will have it on the menu in April.

“The kids miss the beef,” she said.

Liz McManus, San Mateo Union High School District associate superintendent for business service, said her district “heard a rumble” that the recall was looming prior to the Feb. 17 action and pulled beef off students’ plates immediately.

“It’s always nice to see that you have a team ahead of the curve that can handle this type of situation expeditiously,” McManus said.

Another positive,Lague said, is school districts were able to test new recipes on students.

“We found some more items the kids like to eat,” she said.

Lague said students particularly enjoyed the breakfast egg patty sandwich and Chinese chicken egg rolls.

The USDA ordered the recall, the largest such effort in U.S. history, after an undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States videotaped workers at a Chino-based meat plant abusing sick or crippled cows.

Plant officials later admitted some of its downer cows — those too sick to move or stand — were illegally slaughtered and added to the nation’s food supply, which poses a serious health risk to humans, according to health officials. Most of the $37 million worth of meat supplied to schools in the past two years has already been eaten, investigators said.

maldax@examiner.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report

WHERE THE BEEF WENT

The USDA released a list of school districts that received meat included in a nationwide recall. Eight districts in San Mateo County were affected.

» Burlingame Elementary School District

» Millbrae Elementary School District

» Pacifica School District

» Redwood City Elementary School District

» San Bruno Park Elementary School District

» San Mateo Union High School District

» Sequoia Union High School District

» South San Francisco Unified School District

Source: USDA

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