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Where's the beef? Meat pulled from Bulloch menus

    Where's the beef? That's what Bulloch County school students may be asking this week when school menus including chili, spaghetti and anything else containing beef are changed.
    Nothing with beef will be served until issues surrounding a massive beef recall - the largest in history - are resolved, said Bulloch County Schools nutrition director Kathy Szotkiewicz.
    Last week Szotkiewicz told  the Statesboro Herald local schools were not affected by the recall, because they had not received any of the beef involved in the recall. However, as the recall has been expanded to include more products, "we have put a hold on all beef products as of today," she said Thursday.
    So, if items such as chili,tacos or beef stew were on local school menus before, now it will be "manager's choice," meaning each school lunchroom manager will decide what that day's menu will be, she said. "They will make the menu rather than me."
    The recall of 143 million pounds of meat (37 million pounds of which Ron Vogel, spokesman for the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, said were sent to school lunch programs across the nation) occurred three weeks after the Humane Society of the United States released videotapes from an undercover investigation.
    Those tapes showed workers from California's Hallmark/Westland Packing Company abusing sick and injured cattle as they forced them - most of which could not walk - into the slaughterhouse.
    Beef from cattle too ill or injured to walk is not used for human consumption as a precaution against possible illness including e. coli and  "mad cow" disease, a deadly, brain-wasting illness.
    "Nobody has been made sick," she said. "They (the slaughterhouse) did not follow USDA regulations regarding non-ambulatory animals and expanded the recall, and that's why we're involved."
    Szotkiewicz said all beef products currently in stock in Bulloch County schools will be inspected as soon as the USDABeef from downer cattle -- where the animal is too ill or injured to walk -- is usually not allowed in the food supply. The rule was adopted as a safeguard against "mad cow" disease, a deadly, brain-wasting illness. provides school officials with the code numbers of shipments involved in  the recall. "We are going to check every single product," she said.
    While no one has become ill from eating the beef, it is a possibility, she said. But "We don't expect much at all, if any, being in our system," she said.
    If any of the recalled beef is found, it will be " labeled, sent back or destroyed, whichever the state department says," she said. "Rather than leaving any stone unturned, we are recalling all ground beef until we determine which products are involved."

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