NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is a new way for the city’s schools to flunk lunch.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, sandwiches served in city public school cafeterias are have been the subject of dozens of complaints over the past two years.
They have been discovered to have rotten meat and mold, and in one case, parents had to take their kids to the emergency room because of them.
A salami and cheese sandwich with partially gray meat that appeared to be moldy was served to students at a Brooklyn school just over two months ago.
“This is disgusting,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “This is unconscionable. Why would you serve food like this to our children?”
The sandwich became the latest food to join the Department of Education’s dishonor roll of meals you would not want your children to eat. Among the other items were pizza and egg and cheese sandwiches that appeared to be moldy, and chicken with metal pieces and bones in it.
The sandwiches are apparently a special problem in city school cafeterias. Sources told CBS2 there have been 29 complaints since May 27, 2015.
They include rotten meat, mold, and dark blue and black patches. And in one instance, parents had to take their kids to the ER.
Despite the complaints, school officials did not remove the sandwiches from the menu.
“This food should have been recalled. It should have been recalled after the staple,” James said, “It should not have gotten to the point where children were hospitalized.”
The sandwiches come from the Maramont Company in Brooklyn. Spokesman Ken Trantowski told CBS2 the firm serves “wholesome sandwiches.”
“They are premade and flash frozen… delivered frozen to the schools. There should be no problem if protocols are followed… kept frozen and put in a refrigerator to defrost the night before serving,” he said.
The implication is that the problem lies with the cafeteria workers who serve it. CBS2’s Kramer asked the public advocate about it, as she has been highly critical of the school food program.
“I don’t buy that argument at all,” James said. “The question is what are the protocols in place to recall food by the Department of Education? What are the protocols in place with regards to inspection? How many complaints do you need to get food recalled?”
Late Wednesday, the Department of Education insisted a citywide recall was unnecessary because “several reports were unsubstantiated and the isolated incidents with quality control concerns were addressed,” according to spokeswoman Toya Holness.