CBS2 Exclusive: New School Year, New Complaints About Contaminated Food Given To NYC Students

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Just days into the new school year, there are already problems with the food served to New York City’s 1.1 million students.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported exclusively Tuesday, questions are now being raised about servings of kid favorites such as popcorn chicken and peanut butter and jelly.

Back in April, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña told Kramer she was fast-tracking food safety issues.

“We are working on it in an urgent way,” Fariña said.

But now, there is word of two troubling reports.

#149; A piece of metal was found in the popcorn chicken being eaten Monday by a student at P.S. 134 in the Bronx.

#149; Five second graders at P.S. 132 in Brooklyn got sick after eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, and milk.

An email shows that officials quickly ordered distributors to hold off shipping more than 2,000 cases of the popcorn chicken to city schools “due to a quality concern, and an abundance of caution.”

But a representative of the fortress-like Department of Education said the sandwiches will stay on the menu, because “there are no indications that the symptoms were the result of food eaten during lunch…..
We are looking into it and providing additional support to the school.”

The incidents are eerily similar to what happened in the school system last spring.

CBS2 showed you the stomach-turning pictures – pizza as well as egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches that appeared to be moldy, chicken tenders contaminated with pieces of metal, and a bone so big that it caused a person to choke and need a Heimlich maneuver.

Tainted NYC School Food

Mold was seen on pizza and egg and cheese sandwiches, and metal pieces were found in chicken tenders served in New York City public schools. (Credit: CBS2)

There have also been problems with sandwiches – a salami and cheese sandwich with partially gray meat that appeared to be moldy was served to students at a Brooklyn school this past winter.

Moldy Sandwiches

These salami sandwiches were served at a New York City public school in Brooklyn. (Credit: CBS2)

Public Advocate Letitia James is again demanding that the Department of Education get serious about health safety.

“Rotten and contaminated food is unacceptable,” she said. “I once again call for the administration to not only review the contracts for school lunch, but hold these vendors to the highest possible standard… to ensure the health and safety of our children.”

The city switched vending companies after the problems with the chicken last winter and spring. A spokeswoman for Perdue, the new provider, said the company is investigating to determine the source of the metal and whether it originated in the chicken or got in during preparation.

The DOE said the chicken will not be served again until the investigation has been completed.

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