Hawkins County Schools launch new procedures after serving years-old meat to students

(source: Michael Herrell)
(source: Michael Herrell)

ROGERSVILLE (WATE) – The Hawkins County school system is responding to the revelation that children were served old meat at school cafeterias. The meat had been in the freezer for several years before being served last week. It’s not clear if it was tainted.

Michael Herrell is a concerned parent and Hawkins County commissioner. He received a picture on Thursday of pork roast from a cafeteria cook at Joseph Rogers Primary School, the only school in the county that didn’t serve the pork roast to students that had a date from 2009.

Joseph Rogers Primary School was the only school in the county that didn't serve the pork roast to students that had a date from 2009.
Joseph Rogers Primary School was the only school in the county that didn’t serve the pork roast to students that had a date from 2009.

“They go to school, and that might be the only meal they get all day long, and it just very upsets me that these kids are going to school to get that meal. It just didn’t go over well with me when I heard we were feeding these kids meat that’s dated 2009,” said Herrell.

Herrell says a cook at Cherokee High School also told him the meat was bad, but was told by the manager to cover it with gravy to give it a better taste.

Michael Herrell
Michael Herrell

The USDA guidelines for quality and taste for roast are between four and 12 months. Steve Starnes, Hawkins County director of schools, says they plan to follow these guidelines and implement new procedures.

“We also began inventory on all of our frozen food items to make sure. We’re not only going to be incorporating the package date, but also the delivery date on our inventory items to make sure we know exactly when those items came in,” said Starnes.

Steve Starnes, Hawkins County director of schools
Steve Starnes, Hawkins County director of schools

Starnes also says from this point on, each school will have random inspections quarterly. He says inspections will take place at two schools at a time to make sure inventory is running properly and this incident doesn’t happen again.

Starnes says he’s unsure how meat that old was still in all schools freezer, but inventory started Wednesday, checking all frozen food items. He also says there have been no complaints of any student getting sick

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