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Florida Schools Send Stinky Turkeys Back

The strange case of 50,000 pre-sliced turkey meals being pulled from the cafeterias of the Lee County Public School District in Florida remains just as strange this week as last.

As school cafeteria workers went about preparations to serve the turkey last week, they encountered a “foul odor.”  They reported the stink to Louisville, KY-based Culinary Standards, the turkey vendor.

The Fort Myers-based school district, the ninth largest district in Florida and one of the 50 largest school districts in the United States, was told to dump the turkeys.

“We received some complaints from schools in the Florida area, and were told the product had an odor,” Kenny Davis, manager of technical services for the Kentucky food vendor, said last week.  “We’ve taken a proactive approach by telling them not to use them.”

Lee County schools had 600 cases of the questionable turkey on hand, but pulled only boxes with specific time-stamped codes.  Students who missed out on the pre-Thanksgiving turkey instead were fed other available foods including pizzas, burritos and deli sandwiches.

The Lee County school cafeterias feed 80,000 students and 11,500 full and part-time teachers and staff members daily.

“Our number one is making sure the product is pulled and won’t be used in any way, shape, or form,” Joe Donzelli, Lee County School spokesman said last week.  “Priority number two is figuring out exactly what took place.”

Culinary Standards describes itself as  “a frozen prepared foods company dedicated to providing an exceptional level of product quality, consistency and food safety to our customers.”

The company said it asked the school district to return the product for testing.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which operates the National School Lunch Program, is also expected to investigate the stinky turkeys.

Attempts to reach representatives of Lee Schools and Culinary Standards were unsuccessful Monday.

© Food Safety News