If you didn’t think school cafeteria meals could get any more disgusting… brace. Here is some news that is worse than the shady meat that goes into school chicken nuggets: A student at an elementary school in Florida found a dead mealworm in his rice. According to UPI, school employees then found a slew of live meals worms in its supply of uncooked rice.
— UPI.com (@UPI) December 9, 2015
Kelly Steinke, the principal of Killanery Elementary School in Winter Park, sent a letter to parents yesterday explaining that the school, and every other school in the district, has recalled the rice. She claims that the rice was delivered to the elementary school in the past 24 hours “leading officials to believe that the worms were already in the food when it arrived.” While that may be the case, it’s disturbing to think that no one checked the rice while cooking it. Steinke added that the rice was replaced with a different item shortly after the worm was found.
While the mealworms are non-toxic, parents plan on packing their kids’ lunches. One mother, Shauna Jackson, tells WFTV that she is afraid mealworms are just the start: “It makes you wonder what else is in there.” Jackson then threw shade at the school’s staff: “I feel like somebody should have seen it when they first opened the container. And if not, then somebody should have seen it when it was being cooked… I mean, it took a child to bring it up.”
Mealworms aside, the U.S. needs to step up its school lunch game in general. Compared to other countries, our diets of chicken nuggets, fruit in weird syrup, and maybe a smattering of peas looks downright sad. In Greece, students are fed items like yogurt with pomegranate seeds, while in France they are given steak and brie cheese. In the Ukraine, they swap limp hot dogs for a meal of mashed potatoes and sausages, while Italian school kids get to feast on things like caprese salad—putting America’s steady diet of frozen pretzels and bags of chips to shame.