WALLAND, TN (WATE) – A Blount County mom wants answers from her daughter’s school after the teen found a worm in her pre-packaged fruit cup.
Becca Schlosshan shared the picture of the worm, resting on a spoon, to the WATE 6 On Your Side Facebook page and explained her worries about the quality of her children’s food.
Schlosshan wasn’t expecting to receive a text message saying, “Mom, there’s a worm in my strawberries.” The photo was taken during fourth period lunch at Heritage High School. Schlosshan’s daughter, Kayla Farmer, was picking at her food out of habit.
“I thought it was like a stem from a strawberry, and then I looked real good. You could see the little legs,” she said.
“I was grossed out. That’s awful,” added Schlosshan.
Kayla says she told cafeteria workers and the Blount County school system says what she did was right.
“That shouldn’t be in fruit or anything they’re eating,” said Schlosshan.
Between 7,000 and 8,000 meals are served within the district every day. Blount County Schools says to their knowledge this is the only incident and they’ve not received other reports.
“I mean they have to eat. These kids get off that bus and they’re starving to death,” added Schlosshan.
The school system says they’ve contacted their distribution administrator to voice concerns and file a complaint with the USDA. They add their students deserve the best meal possible and they accept no less from those who provide it.
Schlosshan hopes things change within the school’s cafeteria.
“They need to be checked somehow before it gets to my child. I don’t know where it should go from,” she said.
Kayla is thankful that she’s a picky eater, “Really thankful because it was in the first scoop of it.”
School officials say all pre-packaged strawberries are being pulled from every school within the district as they look into the issue.
The company which packages the strawberry cups, SunOpta, sent a statement from the California Strawberry Commission saying California strawberry farmers and processors take food safety very seriously.
“Although there is no known health or food safety risk for worms in strawberry cups, California strawberry farmers have a remarkable track record for low incident rates, calculated against the millions of servings each year. Every unit is packed and inspected to ‘Grade A’ specifications in addition to following industry-wide production guidelines. An occasional incidence of an insect in the fruit could be associated with softer pesticide chemistry, as well as several years of drought conditions causing unusually warm winters, resulting in higher rates of pest pressure. Recent rain conditions and colder weather patterns in California could help reduce pest pressures in the field.”