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Danger lurks in school foods prepared outside

Date Posted: 2005-03-18

Some elementary schools began a program using contract food vendors instead of operating their own school kitchens.

The idea was to improve service and food quality, while saving money. The idea seemed to be working well, until Naha’s Kamihara Elementary School hit a problem.

A big problem.

A two centimeter screw was found inside food being served to students this week, along with rubber bands. The Parent Teacher Association and school officials are demanding answers from the food contractor. They call the situation “shocking”.

“Why were the screws and rubber bands inside the foods,” they’re asking in a formal protest. “The screw was in the potato and meat dish, and the other day there was a rubber band inside the tofu soup.” A child eating the soup began chewing the rubber band while eating the tofu, and another student bit into the food and struck the screw.

The food vendor says it was an accident, with the screw coming out of a food dipper. Nobody had noticed the screw being loose, and “when we mixed the foods somehow it broke down.” A teacher took the screw to the nutritionist, who turned to school officials. The company has apologized.

Although the vendor continues his contract with the school, PTA officials want an apology from the school board. They say they’re angry, and want better answers.

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