Minnesota Public Radio


Under pressure from lawmakers the Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a list of all schools nationwide that received beef included in last months recall.  Since the recall spanned a 2 year period, the complete list resulted in a 226 page document that named all school food authorities who received beef processed at the Westland/Hallmark slaughterhouse.

Even though there were no reported illness associated with the recall, the meat was recalled because some of the cows  processed could not stand on their own and are typically banned from the human food supply because they are more susceptible to illnesses including mad cow disease. While officials insist that the risk is very remote the incubation period for the human form of mad cow disease reportedly could be as long as long as 30 years.

Full List of School District

I try to keep readers update on the developments in the Westland/ Hallmark Meats beef recall story.  Earlier today MSNBC reported that one of the workers charged with abuse plead guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail.

While all that was good and fine the story went on to report,

Downer cattle have been largely barred from the food supply since a mad cow disease scare in 2003. The cows pose a higher risk of disease, partly because they often wallow in feces. “

Downer cows have not been LARGELY BARRED, the cows this article was referring to were BANNED from the food supply.

The sentence that follows, “The cows pose a higher risk of disease, partly because they often wallow in feces”,  is even more bewildering because it has nothing to do with mad cow disease it is referring to E-coli contamination which comes from feces…. a disease not mentioned at all in this particular article. When read in the same paragraph a reader could easily conclude that feces have something to do with mad cow disease when in fact they are discussing the increased potential for E-coli contamination.

The fact that a cow can’t walk could indicate that the animal is suffering from the neurological symptoms associated with mad cow disease, but a non-ambulatory cow is also more likely to contaminate meat with E-coli because they are on the ground where cows poop. 

Side Stepping the Poo,

Olive Rockfish

Guest editoral by Olive Rockfish 

The figures for Minnesota alone are staggering and the concern isn’t just e-coli contamination the biggest concern is Mad Cow Disease also known as a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a condition with a substantially longer incubation period.
In total Westland/Hallmark Meats distributed 27 million pounds of beef to the National School Lunch Program throughout the United States, some of which arrived here in local area schools. Reportedly, Minnesota school received a total of about 240,000 lbs of the beef in question. It is estimated that Minnesota students consumed 180,000 pounds by the time the USDA issued its advisory.

The criteria for obtaining contracts to supply beef to the National School lunch program is lowest price regardless of how many previous safety violations the facility has been cited for.

When pressed by reporters USDA officials admitted that Westland/Hallmark Meats had been cited for violations in 2002 and most recently in 2005. Currently, Minnesota schools are holding 60,000 lbs of beef while they await word from the USDA as to its safety.

Here are my thoughts: If the school is serving anything with ground beef send your child with a bag lunch or enough money to pick an alternative lunch line. The history of contaminated beef arriving at American schools is a disgrace. Until legislators establish food safety standards that take into consideration the facilities safety record, it’s just not worth the risk. 

At the bottom on the page you’ll find a link that will allow you to send an email to your legislators, its an easy thing to do and your representative are already well aware of the issue. While your waiting for congress or the state legislature, place a call to your local school board member. School districts can establish standards that are higher than that of the state or federal government. 

The following is a list of Minnesota school districts who obtained the beef in question:

Schools that likely received Westland beef CITY
Academia Cesar Chavez Charter St. Paul
Academy of Saints Peter & Paul Loretto
Ada – Borup, ISD #2854 Ada
Adrian, ISD #511 Adrian
Aitkin, ISD #1 Aitkin
Albany, ISD #745 Albany
Alexandria, ISD #206 Alexandria
Annandale, ISD #876 Annandale
Anoka, ISD #11 Anoka
Arlington House School St. Paul
Ascension Academy Minneapolis
Ascension School Minneapolis
Ashby, ISD #261 Ashby
Austin, ISD #492 Austin
Badger, ISD #676 Badger
Bagley, ISD #162 Bagley
Barnesville, ISD #146 Barnesville
Bar-None Residential Treatment Service Anoka
Barnum, ISD #91 Barnum
Battle Lake, ISD #542 Battle Lake
Beacon Academy Plymouth
Becker, ISD #726 Becker
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, ISD #2364 Brooten
Belle Plaine, ISD #716 Belle Plaine
Bemidji, ISD #31 Bemidji
Benson, ISD #777 BENSON
Big Lake, ISD #727 Big Lake
Blackduck, ISD #32 Blackduck
Bloomington, ISD #271 Bloomington
Braham, ISD #314 BRAHAM
Brainerd, ISD #181 Brainerd
Breckenridge, ISD #846 Breckenridge
Brewster, ISD #513 Brewster
Brooklyn Center, ISD #286 Brooklyn Center
Browerville, ISD #787 Browerville
Browns Valley, ISD #801 Browns Valley
Buffalo, ISD #877 BUFFALO
Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School Bena
Burnsville, ISD #191 Burnsville
Byron, ISD #531 Byron
Cambridge – Isanti, ISD #911 Cambridge
Campbell – Tintah, ISD #852 Campbell
Cannon Falls, ISD #252 Cannon Falls
Carlton, ISD #93 Carlton
Cass Lake – Bena, ISD #115 Cass Lake
Cathedral High School St. Cloud
Centennial, ISD #12 Lino Lakes
Central Lutheran School St. Paul
Chaska, ISD #112 Chaska
Chisago Lakes Schools, ISD #2144 Lindstrom
Chisholm, ISD #695 CHISHOLM
Chokio – Alberta, ISD #771 Chokio
Circle of Life School White Earth
Climax, ISD #592 Climax
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, ISD #2888 Clinton
Cloquet, ISD #94 Cloquet
Cold Spring, ISD #750 Cold Spring
Columbia Heights, ISD #13 Columbia Heights
Comfrey, ISD #81 Comfrey
Concordia Creative Learning Academy St. Paul
Cook County, ISD #166 GRAND MARAIS
Cromwell-Wright, ISD #95 Cromwell
Crosby – Ironton, ISD #182 CROSBY
Cyrus, ISD #611 Cyrus
Dassel – Cokato, ISD #466 Cokato
Deer River, ISD #317 Deer River
Delano, ISD #879 Delano
Detroit Lakes, ISD #22 Detroit Lakes
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, ISD #2164 Dilworth
Dover – Eyota, ISD #533 Eyota
Duluth Public Schools Academy (Edison Charter) Duluth
Duluth, ISD #709 Duluth
East Central, ISD #2580 Finlayson
East Grand Forks, ISD #595 East Grand Forks
Eden Prairie, ISD #272 Eden Prairie
Eden Valley – Watkins, ISD #463 Eden Valley
Edgerton, ISD #581 Edgerton
Edina, ISD #273 Edina
El Colegio Charter School Minneapolis
Elk River, ISD #728 Elk River
Ellsworth, ISD #514 Ellsworth
Ely, ISD #696 ELY
Emanuel Lutheran School HAMBURG
Epiphany School Coon Rapids
Esko, ISD #99 Esko
Evansville, ISD #208 Evansville
Eveleth – Gilbert, ISD #2154 EVELETH
Faribault Lutheran School Faribault
Faribault, ISD #656 Faribault
Farmington, ISD #192 Farmington
Fergus Falls, ISD #544 Fergus Falls
Fertile – Beltrami, ISD #599 Fertile
Fisher, ISD #600 Fisher
Floodwood, ISD #698 Floodwood
Foley, ISD #51 Foley
Fond Du Lac Ojibwe School Cloquet
Forest Lake, ISD #831 Forest Lake
Fosston, ISD #601 Fosston
Frazee – Vergas, ISD #23 Frazee
Fridley, ISD #14 Fridley
Friendship Academy of Fine Arts Minneapolis
General Vessey Leadership Academy West St. Paul
Gethsemane Lutheran School Maplewood
Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, ISD #2365 Gibbon
Glencoe – Silver Lake, ISD #2859 Glencoe
Good Shepherd School (Parkvalley) Golden Valley
Goodhue, ISD #253 Goodhue
Goodridge, ISD #561 Goodridge
Grand Rapids, ISD #318 Grand Rapids
Greenbush – Middle River, ISD #2683 Greenbush
Greenway Schools, ISD #316 Bovey
Grygla – Gatzke, ISD #447 Grygla
Hancock, ISD #768 HANCOCK
Harvest Prep Charter School Minneapolis
Hastings, ISD #200 Hastings
Hawley, ISD #150 Hawley
Hayfield, ISD #203 Hayfield
Henning, ISD #545 Henning
Herman, ISD #264 Herman
Hermantown, ISD #700 Hermantown
Hibbing, ISD #701 Hibbing
High School for Recording Arts St. Paul
Higher Ground Academy St. Paul
Hill City, ISD #2 Hill City
Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Fergus Falls
Hills – Beaver Creek, ISD #671 Hills
Hinckley – Finlayson, ISD #2165 Hinckley
Holdingford, ISD #738 Holdingford
Holy Name of Jesus School Wayzata
Holy Redeemer School Marshall
Holy Redeemer School Montgomery
Holy Spirit Parish St. Cloud
Holy Trinity School SOUTH ST PAUL
Holy Trinity School Winsted
Hope Academy Minneapolis
Hope Community Academy Charter St. Paul
Hopkins – Golden Valley, ISD #270 Hopkins
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, ISD #2687 Howard Lake
Hutchinson, ISD #423 Hutchinson
International Falls, ISD #361 International Falls
Inver Grove – Pine Bend, ISD #199 Inver Grove Heights
Isle, ISD #473 Isle
Ivanhoe, ISD #403 Ivanhoe
Kelliher, ISD #36 Kelliher
Kenyon – Wanamingo, ISD #2172 Wanamingo
Kimball, ISD #739 Kimball
King of Kings Lutheran School Roseville
Kittson Central, ISD #2171 Hallock
Lac Qui Parle Valley, ISD #2853 Madison
Lake Benton, ISD #404 Lake Benton
Lake of the Woods, ISD #390 Baudette
Lake Park – Audubon, ISD #2889 Lake Park
Lake Superior, ISD #381 Two Harbors
Lakeview, ISD #2167 Cottonwood
Lakeville, ISD #194 Lakeville
Lancaster, ISD #356 Lancaster
Laporte, ISD #306 Laporte
Laurentian Enviromental Center Britt
Le Center, ISD #392 Le Center
Le Sueur – Henderson, ISD #2397 Le Sueur
Learning for Leadership Charter School Minneapolis
Lighthouse Academy of Nations Minneapolis
Litchfield, ISD #465 Litchfield
Little Falls, ISD #482 Little Falls
Littlefork – Big Falls, ISD #362 Littlefork
LoveWorks Academy for Visual & Performing Arts Golden Valley
Lutheran High School Mayer
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota Duluth
Luverne – Magnolia, ISD #2184 Luverne
Lyle, ISD #497 Lyle
Lynd, ISD #415 Lynd
Madelia, ISD #837 Madelia
Mahtomedi, ISD #832 Mahtomedi
Mankato, ISD #77 Mankato
Maple Lake, ISD #881 Maple Lake
Maple River Schools, ISD #2135 Mapleton
Marshall County Central, ISD #441 Newfolden
Marshall, ISD #413 Marshall
Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School ROGERS
McGregor, ISD #4 McGregor
Melrose, ISD #740 Melrose
Mesabi Academy of Kids Peace Buhl
Mesabi East Schools, ISD #2711 Aurora
Metro Deaf School St. Paul
Milaca, ISD #912 Milaca
Minneapolis, Special District #1 Minneapolis
Minneota, ISD #414 Minneota
Minnesota Internship Charter School Minneapolis
Minnesota Transitions Charter School Minneapolis
Minnetonka, ISD #276 Minnetonka
Minnewaska Area Schools, ISD #2149 Glenwood
Montevideo, ISD #129 Montevideo
Monticello, ISD #882 Monticello
Moorhead, ISD #152 Moorhead
Moose Lake, ISD #97 Moose Lake
Morris, ISD #769 Morris
Mounds View, ISD #621 Shoreview
Mount Olive Lutheran School Delano
Mountain Iron – Buhl, ISD #712 Mountain Iron
Mountain Lake, ISD #173 Mountain Lake
Murray County Central, ISD #2169 Slayton
Nashwauk – Keewatin, ISD #319 Nashwauk
Nativity of Our Lord School St Paul
Naytahwaush Community Charter School Naytahwaush
Nett Lake, ISD #707 Nett Lake
Nevis, ISD #308 Nevis
New City School Minneapolis
New Heights School Inc Stillwater
New Life Academy of Woodbury Woodbury
New Millennium Academy Minneapolis
New Prague, ISD #721 New Prague
New Spirit Schools St. Paul
New Ulm Area Catholic Schools New Ulm
New Ulm, ISD #88 New Ulm
New Visions Charter School Minneapolis
Norman County East, ISD #2215 Twin Valley
Norman County West, ISD #2527 Hendrum
North Shore Community School Duluth
North St. Paul – Maplewood, ISD #622 North St. Paul
Northfield, ISD #659 Northfield
Northland Community Schools, ISD #118 Remer
Northwestern MN Juvenile Center Bemidji
Northwood Childrens Home Duluth
Nova Classical Academy St. Paul
Odyssey Charter School Brooklyn Center
Oklee, ISD #627 OKLEE
Omegon Inc Minnetonka
Orono, ISD #278 Long Lake
Ortonville, ISD #62 Ortonville
Osakis, ISD #213 Osakis
Our Lady of Peace School Minneapolis
Our Lady of Victory School Fergus Falls
Owatonna, ISD #761 Owatonna
Paideia Academy Apple Valley
Park Rapids, ISD #309 Park Rapids
Parkers Prairie, ISD #547 Parkers Prairie
Paynesville, ISD #741 Paynesville
Pelican Rapids, ISD #548 Pelican Rapids
Pequot Lakes, ISD #186 Pequot Lakes
Perham, ISD #549 Perham
Perpich Center for Arts Education Golden Valley
Pierz, ISD #484 Pierz
Pilgrim Lutheran School MINNEAPOLIS
Pine City, ISD #578 Pine City
Pine Island, ISD #255 Pine Island
Pine Point, ISD #25 Ponsford
Pine River – Backus, ISD #2174 Pine River
Pinnacle Programs Magnolia
Port of Crow Wing County Inc Brainerd
Prince of Peace Lutheran School Spring Lake Park
Princeton, ISD #477 Princeton
Prior Lake, ISD #719 Prior Lake
Proctor, ISD #704 Proctor
Ramsey County Community Corrections Dept St. Paul
Red Lake County Central, ISD #628 Plummer
Red Lake Falls, ISD #630 RED LAKE FALLS
Red Lake, ISD #38 Red Lake
Red Rock Central, ISD #2884 Lamberton
Redeemer Lutheran School Wayzata
Redwood Falls Area Schools, ISD #2897 Redwood Falls
Richfield, ISD #280 Richfield
Risen Christ School Minneapolis
Robbinsdale, ISD #281 New Hope
Rochester Central Lutheran School Rochester
Rochester, ISD #535 Rochester
Roseau, ISD #682 Roseau
Rosemount, ISD #196 Eagan
Rothsay, ISD #850 Rothsay
Round Lake, ISD #516 Round Lake
Royalton, ISD #485 Royalton
RTR Public Schools, ISD #2902 Tyler
Rush City, ISD #139 Rush City
Sacred Heart School East Grand Forks
Sacred Heart School Freeport
Sacred Heart School Sauk Rapids
Salvation Army Booth Brown House ST PAUL
Samuel Lutheran School MARSHALL
Sartell-St. Stephen, ISD #748 Sartell
Sauk Centre, ISD #743 Sauk Centre
Sauk Rapids, ISD #47 Sauk Rapids
Shakopee, ISD #720 Shakopee
Sheriffs Youth Programs of Minnesota Inver Grove Heights
South Koochiching, ISD #363 Northome
South St. Paul, Special District #6 South St. Paul
South Washington County, ISD #833 Cottage Grove
Spring Lake Park, ISD #16 Minneapolis
Springfield, ISD #85 Springfield
St. Agnes School OSAKIS
St. Alphonsus School Brooklyn Center
St. Ambrose of Woodbury School Woodbury
St. Anns School Wadena
St. Anthony – New Brighton, ISD #282 St Anthony
St. Bernards School Thief River Falls
St. Charles Borromeo School Minneapolis
St. Cloud Childrens Home St. Cloud
St. Cloud, ISD #742 St. Cloud
St. Croix Catholic School Stillwater
St. Dominic School Northfield
St. Elizabeth Seton School Minneapolis
St. Francis of Assisi School Rochester
St. Francis Xavier School Sartell
St. Francis, ISD #15 St. Francis
St. Hubert School Chanhassen
St. James Home of Duluth Duluth
St. James, ISD #840 St. James
St. John School Rochester
St. John the Baptist School Excelsior
St. John the Baptist School Jordan
St. John the Baptist School NEW BRIGHTON
St. John the Baptist School Savage
St. John the Evangelist School Little Canada
St. Johns Area Catholic School Foley
St. Johns Lutheran School Corcoran
St. Johns Lutheran School Elk River
St. Josephs Catholic School Rosemount
St. Josephs Home for Children Minneapolis
St. Josephs School Grand Rapids
St. Josephs School Moorhead
St. Josephs School Red Lake Falls
St. Louis County, ISD #2142 Virginia
St. Louis Park, ISD #283 St. Louis Park
St. Mark Lutheran School New Germany
St. Marys School Breckenridge
St. Marys School MELROSE
St. Marys School Morris
St. Matthew’s School St. Paul
St. Michael – Albertville, ISD #885 Albertville
St. Michaels School MAHNOMEN
St. Paul, ISD #625 St. Paul
St. Peter, ISD #508 St. Peter
St. Philip School Bemidji
St. Pius X School Glencoe
St. Pius X School Rochester
St. Therese School Deephaven
Staples – Motley, ISD #2170 Staples
Stephen – Argyle Central School, ISD #2856 Stephen
Stewartville, ISD #534 Stewartville
Stillwater, ISD #834 Stillwater


According to investigative reporter Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation:

NBC News reported in 1983, Cattle King Packing Company, then the USDA’s largest supplier of ground beef for the NSLP, routinely mixed rotten meat into packages of hamburger meat. Their facility, infested with rats and cockroaches. The owner of the company, Rudy Stanko, was later tried and convicted for selling tainted meat to the federal government. Stanko had been convicted two year earlier on similar charges. His previous felony conviction didn’t inhibit his ability to supply the USDA with one-quarter of all ground beef served in the NSLP.

Related Stories:

Who Represents Me: Links to Legislators

Free and Reduced Lunch: Getting What You Paid For <——Fish Wrap warned readers in August 2007

Update: Free and Reduced Lunch: Getting What Your Paid For

Washington Post: Beef Wake-Up Call

I  have to extend a big, hearty BRAVO! to Newsweek’s Brian Braiker for his report on the recent E.Coli outbreak. I’ve followed stories on food contamination for at least a decade. When I picked up the Newsweek story I was prepared for the same horse hockey everyone else prints about E.Coli. To my utter delight, I found a story that told the public the truth; E.Coli is a byproduct of factory faming.

Back when cattle were actually grazed, we didn’t hear about E-Coli.  In fact, even in confinement, 80% of E.Coli would be reduced if the cattle’s diet was switched from a corn base to hay a week before slaughter. I’ve known this since the 1980’s,  so its aggravating to read report after report where everyone pretends that the sudden existance of E. Coli some big mystery and that the solutions is some illusive answer just out of industries reach. This story was also unique because Newsweek discussed the outbreak with the author of Fast Food Nation, investigative reporter Eric Schlosser.

Here is a link to a cartoon on where food comes from: The Meatrix

The story was well done, be sure your ground beef is too!

Olive Rockfish

Here’s My Beef: I noticed the August 11th, Morrison County Record a reminder for parents to apply for free and reduced lunch. It also reported the following (which I will revisit later):

“Besides being the food service director, Wheeler has also become the legislative chair for the Minnesota School Nutrition Association. The job makes her a liaison between the association and both the state and federal legislators.

I lobby for school meals in St. Paul and in Washington, D.C.,” said Wheeler. “I also lobby for additional funding and, more recently, against the high health inspection charges imposed on schools. That is money taken away from the program, and most importantly, the kids.”

There are a number of things parents should know about the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) that are rarely mentioned by newspapers, or any media for that matter. Since they were considerations for me during the intermittent periods my children qualified for the NSLP, I thought I would share them with you. For instance, the NSLP buys ground beef based on nothing more than the lowest price. While that may sound like a frugal no-brainer, factor this in; it doesn’t matter how many safety violations the facility has committed or the severity of the infraction, as long as the supplier offers the lowest price.

According to Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation (2002, p. 218): “Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, the USDA chose meat suppliers for its NSLP on the basis of the lowest price, without imposing additional food safety requirements.” In a 1983 investigation NBC News reported Cattle King Packing Company, then the USDA’s largest supplier of ground beef for the NSLP, routinely mixed rotten meat into packages of hamburger meat. Their facility, infested with rats and cockroaches. The owner of the company, Rudy Stanko, was later tried and convicted for selling tainted meat to the federal government. Stanko had been convicted two year earlier on similar charges. The previous felony conviction didn’t inhibit his ability to supply the USDA with one-quarter of all ground beef served in the NSLP.

In 1998, the USDA withdrew inspectors from Bauer Meat’s and later declared Bauer’s meat products “unfit for human consumption,” detaining nearly 6 million pounds. Almost one-third of the meat had already been shipped to school districts. Shortly thereafter, a dozen children in Finely, Washington were sickened by E. coli 0157:H7 (Schlosser, 2002)

What is more unsettling is that even after the information had been made public no effort was made to raise the standards. Instead the U.S. Dept of Agriculture lifted its ban on irradiated beef and subsequently appoved the product for use school lunches. Irradiation is a questionable process that blasts meat with radiation to prevent unwanted food contaminants from making people sick. The source of the radiation can be from a linear accelerator which creates a mega blast of x-rays or from the nuclear reactor byproducts, Cobalt 60 & Cesium 137. Even more unsettling, schools don’t have to inform parents that the product is even being used. In the interest of space I will bypass writing an overview of all the issues raised by exposing food to spent nuclear waste, but feel free to Google the subject because it’s not only creepy but there have never been any long term health studies on adults let alone children.

Lets be sure we understand the implications : E. coli 0157 comes from cow poop. Irradiation kills the bacteria in the poop that can make you sick, but it doesn’t clean the poop out of your food…it is truly the surprise in the punch. In the fall of 2002, the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) of the USDA provided the Minnesota Department Education with a $151,000 grant to develop food irradiation education materials in three Minnesota school districts. In the Final Assessment and Evaluation Report school board members from the participating school districts issued a scathing review accusing the USDA of inundating communities with “pro-irradiation propaganda that lacked credibility.” While, none of the participating districts placed orders for irradiated beef, the USDA deemed the pilot project a success and distributed the irradiation campaign materials nationwide.

The NSLP feeds America’s most vulnerable children, maybe Tina Wheeler can use her influence as a state and national lobbyist & legislative chair for the Minnesota School Nutrition Association to work towards some commonsense standards. Here are my ideas on a good starting point:

A) No poop in school lunch even if it is rendered safe to eat.

B) If you’ve been convicted for selling tainted food to the federal government you can no longer supply food to the NSLP.

C) Children’s lunch money cannot be paid individuals with Neo-Nazi affiliations or to individual who go by Pontifex Maximus.

Maybe after we get those down, we can move on and discuss issues like trans-fat, sugary foods and candy as an incentive.

Bottoms Up,

Brooke Trout

Follow up article, February 1, 2008  Update- Free and Reduced Lunch: Getting What You Paid For