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Wheres the beef?
MSD schools temporarily ban beef from menus
MARYSVILLE In the wake of at least two investigations into a California meatpacking plant, the Marysville School District temporarily banned beef from its menus.
Some 80 other school districts around the state have done the same.
In a letter sent to Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland, school Food Service Director Robert Dunn said he had been in contact with state school officials and the systems main food supplier.
We are watching the issue very closely, but we do not have any conclusive information at this time, Dunn said last week.
Until the district receives solid information, Dunn added he felt it best to be cautious and remove all beef from cafeteria menus around the district late last week. The ban was to remain in place at least through the early part of this week.
Our position is that our main priority is the safety of our students, staff and administrators and we are not going to take any chances, Dunn said.
He added the district may or may not receive more substantial information on the source of its current meat stock early this week.
Elsewhere, Lakewood School District officials did not return a phone call on the menu question. However, the Lakewood district was not included on a list of affected systems released by the state school superintendents office. The list may have been updated since Globe deadlines for this issue.
According to a press release from the Humane Society of the United States, the organization has been investigating the Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, Calif. The plant supplies beef to Westland Meat Co., which in turn supplies meat to schools in 36 states through a federal school lunch program.
The Humane Society alleges Hallmark abuses animals and also makes use of so-called downer or downed cows. According to the Humane Society, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned such cows from the countrys food supply.
Downer or downed cows are cows that cannot walk. According to the Humane Society, downer cows may have a higher risk of being infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also known as mad cow,) along with E. coli and salmonella.
In response to the Humane Society scrutiny of the Hallmark plant, the USDA suspended Westland as a supplier to the federal lunch program and launched its own investigation into the meat packer.
The list of Washington schools that temporarily banned beef from their menus included the states largest in Seattle.