Investigation: Fast-food meat standards higher then school lunch meat

Investigation: Fast-food meat standards higher then school lunch meat


Legal news for social responsibility attorneys. Fast-food restaurants have higher quality and safety standards then school lunch meat.

An investigation uncovered fast-food safety regulations are higher then regulations for school lunches.

Washington, D.C.– According to a shocking investigation conducted by USA Today, over the past three years the U.S. Government has supplied our nations schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn’t have met the quality and safety guidelines of numerous fast-food restaurants. Many fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box, and KFC, among other burger and chicken chains have higher standards for their meat then the meat supplied to nearly 3.1 million children across the nation who are eating school lunches everyday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) refutes the claims by stating, the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program “meets or exceeds standards in commercial products.” But according to the investigation, McDonalds, Burger King, and Costco, all have higher standards in checking for bacteria and other dangerous and harmful pathogens. These fast-food chains and retailers all test the ground beef they purchase five to ten times more often then the USDA conducts on meat being supplied to schools on a regular production day. Although the USDA’s standards for school-supplied meat is higher then USDA’s minimum safety requirements for meat sold at supermarkets, the guidelines have fallen lower than the evolving standards implemented in many fast-food restaurants and particular retailers today.

For example, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of chicken from birds called “spent hens.” These birds, who are old and have aged past their egg-laying prime, usually go to compost or pet food. Fast-food restaurant, KFC, and the Campbell Soup Company refuses to buy the chickens due to “quality considerations,” but the chickens seem to meet “quality” standards for our nations hungry students.

The investigation examined nearly 150,000 tests on beef bought by the Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS), the agency in charge of buying meat for the school lunch program, and found cases in which it would meet the standards of most commercial buyers, and other cases in which the meat the AMA bought would have been rejected by fast-food chains and retailers. Unusually high levels of an indicator bacteria called “generic E. coli” was found in 500,000 pounds of ground beef bought by the AMS from November 2008 through January 2009 from Beef Packers and Skylark. In addition, the government allows meat with over double the limit of coliform, set by many fast food-chains to determine whether the beef producer is minimizing any fecal contamination within its meat. Now students have a valid reason to wonder what the “mystery meat” really is.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley- Legal news for social responsibility lawyers.

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