E.Coli Conservatives Want Your Kids

February 23, 2008

Good morning, New Jersey! How are your kids feeling? And how do you feel about the news that over a hundred Garden State schools participating in a federal school lunch program received tainted meat?

At least 126,000 pounds of ground beef from Hallmark/Westland Meat Co., of Chino, Calif., was shipped between February 2006 and this month to three major processing plants identified as suppliers to New Jersey schools through the National School Lunch Program.

The processors — Pierre Foods of Ohio and Maid-Rite Steak Co. and Silver Springs Farm, both of Pennsylvania — sold the meat in the form of taco filling, cooked beef patties, frozen steaks, meatballs and beef barbecue nuggets, officials said.

The state Department of Agriculture said it is working with the state Department of Education to notify schools — a task complicated by the snow and this week’s mid-winter vacations, which have closed many districts.

Lynne Richmond, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department, said the names of the schools were provided by the processors, but will not be released until all the districts have been notified to determine if they had actually received products containing the recalled beef.

The number of schools on the list was “extensive,” she said, and included well over 100 institutions.

Just remember, as we wait for word of which school received tainted food for their children, that the truly important thing was to get the government off the backs of those poor, beleaguered food processing plants. And if getting the government off their backs meant putting your kids on their backs — in the hospital — well, just chalk it up to the magic of the marketplace.

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