Six-Year-Old Meat Served in Tennessee School

Posted on June 2, 2015 by


Hawkins County students were served roast pork that was six-years-old. A few local officials and the Board of Education set a committee meeting to discuss the issue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that frozen food remains safe indefinitely, although the USDA does have a quality chart. This chart recommends no more than twelve months for roasts and uncooked meat. There have been no complaints of sickness resulting from the pork roast served on Wednesday, 22 April, in a Hawkins County cafeteria, but the quality of the meat has been called into question by the county commissioners.

“Six-year-old meats! How does something like that even happen? The fact that they would store it that long is ridiculous, but it is downright sickening that they would still serve it to their students, knowing it had the potential to make them ill,” junior Connor Underkoftler said.

Hawkins County commissioner Michael Herrell told the Times-News that he had received a call from a school cafeteria worker last week reporting a school served frozen pork roast dating all the way back to 2010.

“Some schools had 2009, some had 2010, some had 2011. The smell was so bad, it was just unbearable,” Herrell said.

The school tried to hide this foul odor by pouring gravy on top of the meat. The roast was set out on a Friday left out all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to thaw. Staffers cooked the meat on Monday and then put it back into the refrigerator. On Wednesday, 22 April, staffers got the meat back out again and warmed it up so that the smell was not noticeable.

“It sounds like something a lot of schools probably do but don’t get caught for,” senior Emily Majewski said.

There is now a plan to discard all outdated frozen food items. Schools will incorporate the date received onto all inventory sheets along with the package date of each item. A “first in and first out” procedure will be used for all food items.

There are a total of 18 schools in Hawkins County and more than 7,000 students attending there. The Board of Education Chair said that they are not sure exactly how many students ate the outdated pork. Herrell is also a concerned parent who was tipped off about the school lunch that week.

“These high schoolers know when not to eat something, but the elementary schoolers–do they know if meat is bad or not?” Herrell said.

“I can’t imagine how gross it would be to find out that I have been eating old meat that the school knew about,” sophomore Megan Majewski said.

“Knowing that someone got ill due to the school’s food is a bit concerning.  If there is gravy over old meat, you wouldn’t be able to tell if it was good or not,” junior Hannah Sell said.

“I usually question the school food a lot, but I still eat it and haven’t gotten sick from it yet,” sophomore Pierre Richards said.

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