HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Meat dating back as far as 2009 with what was described as a horrible smell was served to Hawkins County students just last week.
Hawkins County Commissioner Michael Herrell said he received a picture of the expired lunch meat from someone at Joseph Rogers Primary School.
The county reportedly told Herrell that the meat was not served at Joseph Rogers, but said it was served at other schools.
Herrell said anyone who knows anything about pork, knows it’s like fixing chicken, “ you’ve got to get it, fix it and be done with it.”
But as Herrell learned late last week, there was pork in schools throughout the county that dated back to 2009.
“Here in Hawkins County, we have a lot of kids that go to school and that might be the only meal they get all day long. It just upsets me that these kids are going to school to get that meat,” Herrell said.
School officials told Herrell that while the dated lunch meat was not served at Joseph Rogers, the lunch meat was served to students at Cherokee High School last week.
Herrell said a cafeteria worker inside the high school told him “that it smelled so bad they made gravy to put over the meat.”
He said Cherokee is not the only school he’s heard where the out-of-date meat was served.
“I heard that McPheeter’s Bend, cooked the meat there (and) that the smell was so bad the school had the smell all through the school,” Herrell said. But, the principal at McPheeter’s Bend contacted News Channel 11 Thursday morning and said that information was not correct.
When the complaint was brought to the attention of Hawkins County Director of Schools Steve Starnes last Thursday, he said they took immediate action and looked into the claim.
“There was some meat that was in our freezers with dates of 2009, 2010, 2011,” Starnes said.
An inventory of all food served to students will be taken throughout the school system and some new ground rules will be put in place, which will include cafeteria managers notifying child nutrition supervisors of any food in the school that’s within three months of the labeled expiration date.
School board leaders want to address the situation and make sure this does not happen again. There will be a meeting open to the public at the Charles A. Fuller Board Room, known to locals as the ‘bus depot’. It’s located at 1722 East Main Street in Rogersville, TN.
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