Parents of elementary school children in Orange County, Florida, were left concerned after a student discovered a mealworm in his school lunch.
The dead worm was found in cooked rice at Killarney Elementary School on Dec. 8.
“Technical staff from food service immediately inspected the meal and found the presence of a dead mealworm,” wrote Killarney Principal Kelly Steinke in a letter to parents, according to WESH. “Upon further inspection, the presence of live worms were confirmed in the uncooked rice.”
Students were given a replacement meal, but Orange County Public Schools reassured parents it did not believe the worms would have been harmful if eaten. This was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture.
As a result, the school district has removed all rice from schools throughout Orange County and will provide students with a replacement grain.
“Because the rice had been delivered to the school in the last 24 hours, OCPS does not believe the issue arose at the school,” Steinke wrote further.
The principal requested that parents pay attention to the health of their children and report any unusual symptoms to the school. She stressed that no such symptoms were likely to occur.
A day after the student found the worm, health inspectors conducted a check on OCPS facilities. They passed the inspection.
The discovery had parents worrying.
“What else is it in?” Shauna Jackson asked a WFTV reporter. “Where are they storing it?”
She added that going forward, she planned to make packed lunches for her child.
OCPS did not name the vendor responsible for supplying the rice, saying it wanted to give the company time to investigate how the worms got into the food.