Schools pull out bad beef

Monday, February 18th 2008, 7:55 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Metro schools were busy checking their freezers Monday morning for beef identified in a nationwide recall. There's concern the beef, which is used in the school lunch program, may have been processed using sick animals.

Oklahoma City school officials were quick to take action. They said they were notified of the recall around the end of January.

Kathleen Kennedy of Oklahoma City Public Schools said 300 pounds of the questionable beef was removed from all their schools.

"Immediately we took steps to prevent any of the tainted beef in question from being served to our children," Kennedy said.

The school system serves about 20,000 pounds of ground beef a month. They're now using another vendor to supply the 90 schools in the district.

The beef in question dates back to 2006. Dr. Kenneth Petersen of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the risk of contamination is small.

No illnesses have been linked to the meat in the recall and there's no indication the meat ever made its way to supermarket shelves.

"We understand obviously the concern that the recall of this size generates," Petersen said. "I think if you carefully look at the facts on the safety of the American food supply, we do think the food supply is safe."

Moore was the only other public school system in the metro that also had the beef, they pulled it two weeks ago and are using another vendor as well.

Department of Human Service officials said they just learned of the recall last night. DHS said seven truckloads of the beef have been received in Oklahoma this year. 1,800 cases have been consumed. 2,100 cases are in school inventories across the state.

The California slaughterhouse has been shut down and two former workers have been charged with animal cruelty.