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Tainted Meat May Have Reached To Schools

Oct 18, 2002 |

Nearly 2 million pounds of turkey meat linked to a deadly outbreak of listeria were distributed to U.S. schools and state agencies nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. on Sunday recalled a record 27.4 million pounds of ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products after federal health authorities linked its Franconia, Pennsylvania, plant to a listeria outbreak blamed for at least seven deaths and 46 illnesses.

The USDA said 1.8 million pounds of the recalled poultry were purchased by the department for the federal school lunch program and other agencies.

"All state agencies and recipients have been instructed to discontinue the distribution of these products pending their return to Pilgrim's Pride under the recall," the USDA said.

Officials said they had not yet determined how much of the meat, sold under the Wampler brand, was already consumed.

The USDA regularly buys meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables for the school Lunch program and other government nutrition programs. The school lunch program provides 27 million children with low-cost or free meals daily.

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