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32 school systems will get rid of recalled beef; Bulloch not affected

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    ATLANTA — Thirty-two school systems around Georgia have been preparing to destroy thousands of pounds of meat after an undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts prompted the nation’s largest beef recall.
    However, Bulloch County schools "is not on the list," said Kathy Szotkiewicz, school nutrition director for the Bulloch County Board of Education.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a southern California slaughterhouse that is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation.
    The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino, Calif.-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said. The company provided meat to various federal programs.
    In Forsyth County, school officials planned Tuesday to destroy 11 cases of frozen beef patties that were found at six schools and are part of the recall.
    Susan Woods, the school system’s food and nutrition director, said the meat will be placed in plastic bags and doused with bleach before being put into trash bins. A supervisor has to witness the meat being destroyed and provide written documentation to the USDA, she said.
    In Gwinnett County, school officials were still awaiting word late Monday on specifics of the disposal process, school system spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
    Fortunately, Bulloch County "did not receive any of that ground beef" that was recalled, Szotkiewicz said.
    Dana Tofig, spokesman for the state Department of Education, said he expects school systems that follow the USDA guidelines to be reimbursed for the costs of destroying the meat.
    In Georgia, 37 school systems are believed to have bought meat that came from Westland/Hallmark, Tofig said. Of those, 32 reported finding some of the meat in their storage rooms when the on-hold notice went out late last month, he said.
    The beef was shipped to Georgia from October through January, records show.
    ‘‘The risk of any food-borne illness is extremely low,’’ Tofig said. ‘‘We are concerned about it, but there is no reason to panic.’’
    The beef was processed into meat patties and crumbles used for taco fillings and spaghetti sauce to be served in school cafeterias, he said.
    ‘‘Georgia got 6,300 cases each containing 60 pounds of beef,’’ Tofig said.

Holli Deal Bragg contributed to this report
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