Ear worms, mold in food prompt changes at Chartiers Valley cafeterias
Two food quality issues at Chartiers Valley's high school and middle school campuses have forced the district to make changes, a district spokeswoman said.
A student found what later was identified as a corn ear worm in his meal. In a separate incident, mold was found in bread.
In a letter dated Feb. 28 to parents, Chartiers Valley Superintendent Brian White said the product was “immediately pulled from all serving lines.”
White said the district's outsourced food service management company The Nutrition Group filed a complaint with the Bonduelle USA, a USDA provider.
According to White's letter, Bonduelle said the company “traced the production and reviewed our records for both the original processing of the raw corn, as well as, our quality records for the packaging operation. The records do not show any indication of the presence of ‘ear worms' in both steps.
“When we process the raw corn we employ multiple steps to eliminate such material from the raw agricultural product that includes washers to float out, air cleaners to blow out, optical sorter equipment to eject, and manual inspection to remove undesirable materials. Additionally, we employ manual inspection at the time of packaging into cased product.”
Also on that date, food workers at the high school and middle school were retraining in food safety procedures.
In a second incident, the district said bread was reported to be stale and — in some cases — contained mold.
“The Nutrition Group removed this bread from serving lines and disposed of it,” White wrote in the letter.
Droney said Nutrition Group named Brenda Wineland as the district's new food service director following the issues.
She was brought in “to ensure the program is meeting the expectations of the school district as well as students and parents,” Droney said. Wineland previously worked as Nutrition Group's operation specialist.
“In that role, she was responsible for training the organization's food service directors,” Droney said, adding that Wineland “plans to engage students and parents to gather their feedback and recommendations for our food service program.”
Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.