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Where's the beef? Off school menus

State-wide scare prompts look at meat source

Potentially unsafe beef products have been yanked off of school lunch menus in the Lake Oswego School District until further notice.

The scare comes after undercover video surfaced of cows being mistreated at a giant meat-packing plant, Westlund Meat Packing Co. out of Chino, Calif. Workers there were secretly videotaped by the Humane Society of the U.S. jabbing and abusing cows who couldn't get up.

State officials warned all Oregon school districts to inspect their uncooked ground beef Thursday after an investigation said it could be contaminated. The warning comes because it's against federal law to send out meat from animals too weak to walk.

More than 70 Oregon school districts get their meat from this particular California company.

LOSD, however, does not believe that its beef products come from the company, but are erring on the side of caution.

On Monday, district officials replaced beef teryaki with chicken teryaki and will substitute chicken sandwiches for burgers for the time being.

All beef products will be kept off the district menu until further notice, according to district food services director Sharon Morgan.

The district is currently researching if its beef products have any connection to Westlund Meat through the co-op where it gets the products.

"My guess is that we will be finding out by the end of this week," Morgan added. "Right now we believe the company we bought the beef from has not been affected."

Riverdale School District was not affected by the scare, according to Superintendent Thomas Hagerman.

"Four Seasons Flavor, our catering service, uses only hormone- and chemical- free meat from local farmers," he said.

Westlund Meat has now been kicked off the school food program that supplies federally paid-for food to districts around the country.