News

Where's the beef? Not in school lunches

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

There will be no beef served in Federal Way schools until further notice.

The USDA notified school districts in 36 states to quit serving beef after an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States uncovered corruption in the Westland Meat Company that supplied beef through the National School Lunch Program.

The Humane Society released video that showed abusive treatment of cows on their way to slaughter at the Hallmark Meat Packing plant in Chino, Calif. The Hallmark plant supplies Westland.

The video showed sick or injured cows being pushed by a forklift to be slaughtered. The video also showed the cows being kicked and hosed.

Sick or injured cows, referred to as downed cows, have a higher risk of being infected with mad cow disease, E. coli and salmonella.

In Federal Way, all beef products are being stored in the freezer until further notice, said school district spokeswoman Diane Turner.

“We won’t be serving any beef items until we get a full release and direction from the USDA,” Turner said. “We took the precautionary step to remove them from all of our buildings.”

Only middle and high schools were affected by the menu change, Turner said. Elementary schools did not have beef products on their menu.

Items that were removed from the menu included spaghetti with meatballs, hamburgers, tacos and lasagna. There will be plenty of non-beef options for student lunches, Turner said.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

For more information on the Humane Society investigation into abusive treatment of cows used for beef, visit www.hsus.org.

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