You might assume that the meat your kids get from their school cafeteria is held to higher standards than the flesh that’s fed through the grinders at McDonald’s or Burger King. Not exactly, according to USA Today. The paper conducted an investigation and found that “millions of pounds of beef and chicken” served up in schools wouldn’t make the grade in many fast-food restaurants.
According to USA Today:
McDonald’s, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.
And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef. For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food.
The USDA disagrees, saying that the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program “meets or exceeds standards in commercial products.” However, the agency hs promised an independent review of its testing requirements in the wake of the USA Today report.
USA Today’s report doesn’t highlight any specific incidents of food poisoning or contamination related to its findings.
Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches [USATODAY.com]