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‘Our kids can’t be eating this type of stuff’: Allegan mom concerned about rotten foods at kids’ school

Posted at 7:49 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 20:23:05-05

ALLEGAN, Mich. — It was around Christmastime when Heather Hitchcock said one of her kids, who attends Allegan High School, told her about some of the food at the school being moldy.

Hitchcock told her daughter to let her know when it happens again.

Last week, it did.

“Last week, when I created this post, she had sent me another carrot picture. And then just a couple of days later she had a pear that looked like it had been kind of bitten in to or maybe just kind of chipped or bruised along the way, like there was a chunk of skin missing out of it,” Hitchcock said during a ZOOM interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “I guess it all happened fast because I wasn’t expecting it to get this much attention.”

Hitchcock posted the photo on social media on Wednesday, Jan. 19 and it gained a lot of attention from parents, she said.

Parents commented on her post saying their kids experienced it as well and that it’s a yearly problem, she recalled.

The day Hitchcock posted the photo, she also reached out to the school’s principal and the school board president. She reached out to the superintendent the next day. She’s spoken with a few of them, she said.

On Monday, Jan. 24, she spoke with the schools’ food administrator, who gave her some insight into what’s happening.

“There’s a lot of supply chain issues going on, a lot of short staffing all around the world, not just even here in West Michigan and I totally get that,” Hitchcock remembered from their conversation. “She said they have been sifting through it and trying to pick out anything that was coming to them because I asked her straight up if it was a supply chain issue. Like, are things sitting on trucks too long? Are the trucks not refrigerated enough? That type of stuff.”

Superintendent James Antoine confirmed via email to FOX 17 on Tuesday that the global supply chain issues are impacting the district. He said sometimes they receive food that’s already gone bad, which they promptly throw out.

FOX 17 also reached out to Antoine on Monday, Jan. 24 for a comment. He said via email:

“We are aware of the social media posts and have worked directly with the families that have contacted us regarding any concerns. We successfully serve over a thousand meals each day and I am very proud of our hardworking food service staff.”

On Monday, FOX 17 also reached out to the Allegan County Health Department for a comment. They stated:

“ACHD received a complaint from MDARD [Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development] on Friday, January 21. One of ACHD’s Sanitarians went onsite for an inspection and found no substantiation of the complaint today at the investigation.”

In the meantime, Hitchcock made a suggestion that signs should be put up in the school’s cafeterias, letting students know what to do when they come across rotten food.

However, ultimately, Hitchcock said she hopes the problem is solved before something worse happens to the kids.

“Whether it is the supply chain, the foods coming that way on the truck, whoever’s in charge of putting that food on the truck before it even arrives to our schools, please pay attention to it,” she said. “I can understand if it happened once or twice but this is an ongoing issue. Our kids can’t be eating this type of stuff, let alone open the package or open their tray and see that’s what they’re being served.”

***The Allegan Co. Health Dept. is asking for parents to fill out an inquiry about the situation. Please click here to do so.***

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