South Routt, Hayden schools dispose of recalled beef | SteamboatToday.com

South Routt, Hayden schools dispose of recalled beef

Mike McCollum

Food service employee Robin Dorr slices pizza in the kitchen at Steamboat Springs High School on Wednesday morning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled 143 million pounds of beef, and about 120 pounds remain in the South Routt and Hayden school districts. The meat will be disposed of.

— Of the 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse recalled Sunday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 120 pounds remain in the South Routt and Hayden school districts.

The Steamboat Springs School District did not receive any of the recalled meat from the Chino, Calif.-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., in what is now being called the largest beef recall in United States history.

USDA officials announced the recall Sunday after the Humane Society of the United States released undercover video showing crippled and sick animals at the slaughterhouse being shoved with forklifts. The recall affects beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006.

Nancy Spencer, Hayden’s director of food services, said she is storing beef from Westland that was shipped to the school district through the Colorado Department of Education’s Nutrition Unit.

South Routt and Hayden schools participate in the National School Lunch Program, which distributes subsidized food products to schools, including the recalled frozen beef.

“We got about 30 pounds of it here that we are holding in freezers,” she said. “Our trashman comes (today), and we’ll get him to take it out to the landfill.”

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Spencer was unable to say exactly how much Westland beef was shipped to Hayden or how much of the meat may have been consumed by students.

South Routt’s nutrition manager, Charlotte Whaley, said she received notice Wednesday from state education officials that recalled meat also was sent to South Routt. She also didn’t know how much meat was shipped to the school district dating to the beginning of the recall, but 90 pounds of beef remains.

“I received notice a couple weeks ago that the beef may have come from California, so we put it all on hold,” she said. “I received an e-mail (Wednesday from the CDE) for me to dispose of it.”

Whaley said she also will dispose of the beef through Waste Management, and she expects to be reimbursed by the CDE.

USDA officials estimate that about 37 million pounds of the recalled beef went to school programs, but they believe most of the meat probably already has been eaten. No illnesses have been linked to the newly recalled meat, and officials said the health threat was likely small.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer said earlier this week that his department has evidence that Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became nonambulatory after passing inspection – a violation of health regulations.

Spencer and Whaley said they have not received any calls from parents concerned about the recall, but Steamboat’s director of food services, Max Huppert, said he has fielded many calls from the public.

“I’ve told them that we don’t use any of their products and we don’t use beef from that company,” he said.

– To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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