The New York City Department of Education has pulled chicken nuggets from school menus after the food was found to contain metal fragments.
The chicken was served to students in school cafeterias in all five boroughs of the city, reports WPIX.
The news launched a lively debate among parents on social media. "My child came home 3 days ago with bad pains in her stomach and diarrhea asked her what she ate at school and she said chicken nuggets she was sick for 2 days," said one concerned parent. "My son had the same thing last week," another replied.
Upon learning about the contamination, Department of Education stopped working with the supplier, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on March 29.
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In a statement released to WPIX, a DOE spokesperson said: "Due to quality control concerns, we suspended the distribution of sliced pizza and chicken tenders. The safety of students always comes first and families should rest assured that school food is safe and nutritious. These items will not be served again until all concerns have been addressed. Schools are offering alternative menu options and we're exploring new sources for these products."
The chicken in question is now facing a nationwide recall. It is manufactured by K Food, Inc., and marketed under various brand names, including Smart Foods 4 Schools, Chickentopia, Tender Bird, Spring Rivers Farm, Great Value and Farmington, according to the USDA.
About 933,000 pounds of ready-to-eat, breaded chicken products have reoprtedly been recalled by the company.
The facts of the case are summarized in a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
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OK Food, Inc., an Oklahoma City, Okla. establishment, is recalling approximately 933,272 pounds of breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The ready-to-eat (RTE) breaded chicken items were produced on various dates from Dec. 19, 2016 through March 7, 2017. ... The problem was discovered on March 21, 2017 after OK Foods Inc. received five consumer complaints stating that metal objects were found in the ready-to-eat chicken products and by FSIS inspection personnel during verification activities. After an internal investigation, the firm identified the affected product and determined that the objects in all the complaints came from metal conveyor belting.
A relatively bizarre case of suspected metallic food contamination was reported in 2014, when Wheaties breakfast cereal was allegedly found to contain so many microscopic fragments of metal that individual flakes could be lifted by an ordinary magnet, as reported by the website Natural News, which speculated that metal bits are added to the cereal so that a higher iron content can be claimed on the label.