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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

Someone must pay for major food error

Saturday, May 3, 2003

"Surely we can assure safe food for our children in school."

There's an interesting case developing in Illinois where 42 school children suffered food poisoning from eating tainted chicken tenders at a school lunch program. Two education officials were charged Wednesday with reckless conduct for allowing the food to be served to school kids.

School lunch program food was stored at a cold storage facility in St. Louis when an ammonia leak contaminated much of the food. The cold storage company said it notified officials at several levels of state government though none of those agencies has proof of the notification. Despite numerous complaints, the food was delivered to the schools and the food poisoning occurred. None of the poisoning cases were fatal fortunately.

Here's what puzzles me. It seems to me that someone erred when they allowed the food to leave the cold storage facility. It would seem to me that the St. Louis company would share much of the blame for delivering food that even held the potential for harm.

Government officials are pointing a finger of blame toward the company and the company in turn blames the government whom they said was informed of the contamination. Quite simply, someone made a major blunder and someone has to pay.

Surely we can assure safe food for our children in school. And if not then someone needs to reexamine the food program and place safeguards in policy. I'm sure there are countless checks and balances but yet, someone made a mistake.

Changes have now been made in the school lunch program in Illinois. But it seems to me that others share some responsibility other than two mid-level education officials. The company and government inspectors have many questions to answer. Let's hope those questions are asked soon.



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