Beef recall incorrectly tracked to Burke

There is no recalled beef in Burke County Public Schools after all.

School officials had a scare last week when they were notified they had received and fed students beef that is part of a national recall activated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

After Burke County school nutrition director Donna Martin investigated the specific shipments affected by the recall, she found that local schools had never actually received any of those products.

The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) told Martin last week that shipments of recalled beef from Hallmark/ Westland Meat Packing Company in California had been sent to the Burke County schools and needed to be destroyed.

The notification came after the USDA expanded the recall, which began last month, to include beef from the company that was shipped after 2005. However, the DOE implied that the recall included all products shipped since that date and failed to include the lot numbers involved.

Such a blanket recall would have included nearly 250 cases of beef that Burke County schools either had on hand or in storage.

When Martin inquired about the specific lot numbers, she found that local schools were not really affected.

She said the confusion may have pushed some school systems to destroy meat that was not recalled, but she didn’t blame the DOE. She said the DOE office has been overwhelmed since the recall began.

USDA officials have indicated that there is very little risk associated with consuming the recalled beef, and no one has fallen ill after eating it.

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