Beef recall hits Douglas schools

Some of the 143 million pounds of beef recalled Sunday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is in Douglas County schools, according to Denise Higgins, supervisor of the district's nutrition program.

"Every school district in Nevada was affected, except Esmeralda County," said Higgins.

Earlier this week, beef from Calif.-based Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. was recalled after officials found that sick cows were being processed into the nation's food supply without being checked for certain diseases by USDA veterinarians.

It was the largest meat recall in U.S. history. One fourth of the 143 million pounds of recalled meat was sent to school nutrition programs in 36 different states.

"We don't have any ground beef at all," said Higgins. "We have things processed at other manufacturers that used the ground beef, like beef burritos."

Higgins said the district has more than 50 cases of tainted products that now need to be destroyed.

"We are gathering it from the school sites," she said. "It has to be taken to a landfill, and its destruction witnessed by a state health department official and a landfill official."

Higgins said none of the recalled beef has been consumed, and that there have been no reported cases of illness relating to the recall.

"We're making sure none of the products are served to our kids," she said. "And thank goodness there haven't been more repercussions."

Higgins said the USDA promised to reimburse school districts hurt by the loss.

"But it will probably still cost us," she said. "Because they have to buy more expensive products to replace these ones."

Higgins said Hallmark/Westland will most likely go out of business, and other beef companies will start bidding for school contracts.

"I just don't know how they would survive financially after this," she said. "The USDA has already pulled their contract."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment