ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. – Students at Cherokee High School are fed up with their disgusting government-approved lunches.
“People need to know about this, parents need to know what their kids are eating at school,” senior Jessica Fisher told WSLS.
Fisher was in the lunch room Monday when another student at her table discovered a problem with the banana bread – it was covered in mold.
The teen took a picture of the contaminated food and shared the image with Hawkins County Commissioner Michael Herrell, who is now demanding answers from school district officials, the Kingsport Times News reports.
Just nine months ago, Herrell demanded a school investigation into another food issue: years-old roast pork served to students. The frozen pork, served in April, was dated between 2009 and 2011.
That incident gained nationwide attention, including coverage on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update,” according to the news site.
It was also cited as an example of the “healthy” school food doled to students under strict federal restrictions on calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and other elements championed by first lady Michelle Obama. The old meat debacle enraged parents but did not make students physically ill.
Herrell said despite efforts to improve the district’s food service, there’s “still a problem.”
“I’ve been to some other schools, and I’ve looked on their (cafeteria) shelves,” he said. “They still have stuff that’s almost outdated on their shelves.”
Fisher said the banana bread students received this week was disgusting.
“It was green all over the sides little spongy holes of mold and it was just so gross, I couldn’t, I didn’t want to eat the rest of my food,” she told WSLS. “We all looked at it, it was gross, I mean it’s not something I would want to eat.”
School officials said no students became ill because of the banana bread, and three students who reported the problem were refunded or received fresh, nonmoldy slices.
“We do not by any means want to go through what we went through with the pork issues and our staff has worked very diligently,” school board chairman Chris Christian told the news site.
“Every box that we’ve got in our cafeteria currently was shipped in January,” he said of the banana bread. “We receive it frozen and it is frozen until we serve.”
WSLS posed the obvious question: “… If it’s frozen until served, how did it become moldy?”
“That’s the most important question that anyone could ask and that’s the most important question that needs an answer but right now I can’t answer that,” Christian said.
Director of schools Steve Starnes told the Times News school officials are investigating the incident, but suggested it’s the distributor’s fault.
“It’s kind of like going to the grocery store to get a loaf of bread,” he said. “Every once in a while you get (a bad) one.”
“There aren’t any (expiration) dates on the wrapping, and we’re checking all the other inventory right now,” Starnes continued. “We’re just trying to find out if it was in date. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it.”