From Mold To Maggots: What Are Your Children Being Served For Lunch At School?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Caught on camera! Spoiled food and dirty conditions in a school cafeteria, from maggots in vegetables, to mold in the refrigerator.

A Shelby County Schools cafeteria worker went undercover, saying she wanted parents to see what their children are eating. The school employee says she decided to go public after her complaints to her bosses went nowhere.

She says her biggest concern is the children, not only at the school where she works, but all students in the Shelby County School District. Because she fears retaliation and losing her job, we concealed her identity.

"I would have never believed in 100 years that this goes on inside a school kitchen," said the worker. That's why this worker took pictures inside the Soulsville Charter School. Her pictures show dirty conditions, from mold to maggots in potatoes.

“I just pulled the top off the box and maggots were coming out." She says her supervisor told her to pick out the bad potatoes, but instead she threw away the entire box.

The worker has documented code violations, including food not being covered in a cold box. A bag of greens says it should be washed before cooking, but her video shows an employee dumping it straight into a pan.

“They still cooked those greens and served them even though I went to the supervisor and told her they hadn't been washed."

The worker says leftovers like spaghetti, cabbage, and cheese pizza are often kept more than a week and then re-served to students. “Some of that stuff that was served, especially with that old food, I wouldn't even give it to my dog."

Her pictures show the same spilled milk remained on the floor, day after day, and pans being washed in dirty water.

The employee says her complaints to the district went nowhere. “It's just like everything. They want it swept under the rug. 'Be quiet and we will handle it'."

We shared her concerns with Shelby County Schools Board Chairman Chris Caldwell, who said, "I will say it raises enough issues that the district should look into it."

The Shelby County Health Department confirmed to us that some of the worker's findings are indeed food safety violations.

Shelby County Schools provides the food and workers to the district’s schools, and most charter schools, including Soulsville. The food comes from the district's Central Nutrition Center, known as the CNC.

"I blame the people who are in charge at the CNC, who are holding positions that could make a change," said the worker.

We have been asking Shellby County Schools for an interview since last Friday, and Thursday they released this statement:

"Shelby County Schools takes great pride in providing healthy and nutritious meals to more than 110,000 students across our community. We have strict protocols in place to ensure all food is safely prepared and adhere to all nutrition standards requested by the federal government.  In addition, we have an intensive in-service training process for employees who handle food to address food safety, preparation and sanitation.  Any complaints we received regarding Soulsville Charter have been addressed. Lastly, the last three health inspections scores related were 97, 93 and 98, which are above the average."

Soulsville Charter School also released a statement:

 

"While The Soulsville Charter School ultimately defers to the Shelby County Schools Central Nutrition Center on this matter as they provide all of our nutrition services, and we understand they will be speaking with you today, we are, of course, ever diligent regarding the safety and welfare of our students in all respects. It is our number one priority. Our most recent school kitchen scores from the Shelby County Health Department were 100, 97, and 98 out of 100, the most recent being the 98-point score we received yesterday, November 9, 2017. "

After the Local I-Team interviewed a manager at the Health Department, this week an inspector went to the school.

 

 


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