Dededo students show food poisoning symptoms
by Krystal Paco
Guam - It looked like undercooked salisbury steak was being served at Maria Ulloa Elementary School this morning. Thanks to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a massive food poisoning outbreak may have been averted.
"They called me to pick up my 2nd grader because she ate lunch and her lunch wasn't cooked," said Ulloa Elementary parent Daniella Celes, who was furious to find her child may have eaten undercooked meat in the school cafeteria. Her daughter was one of two students who reported stomach pains and vomiting to the school nurse after eating today's menu of salisbury steak. Celes didn't want to take her chances and pulled her 5th grader, who also attends the school, out of class for the remainder of the day.
"They already fed kindergarten, first grade, and half of second grade,'" she said. "We'll see what the outcome is. They think it's funny our kids us parents are the ones that are going to have to deal with it, not them. If that's the case and I think the parents should all come now and pick their kids up and take them home and feed them. This is ridiculous already."
Assistant principal Josephine Parel-Fontbuena says an administrator always tastes the food before the students break for lunch. She herself ate the salisbury steak and found no deficiencies. Shortly after, a student pointed out the meat may have been undercooked and Parel-Fontbuena shut down the cafeteria and requested food contractor Sodexo Guam to provide a substitute meal for the remaining students.
"I had stopped the trays from being served," she confirmed. "I don't want to risk food poisoning. so I wouldn't accept the meat at all and I asked for a substitute. I know that it's just peanut butter for the meantime. but I just want the students to eat something because I didn't want them to go through the whole day without feeding them anything."
Department of Education deputy superintendent Rob Malay says the agency's Food and Nutrition Team were immediately sent to the site to investigate and look into other school kitchens that received the same salisbury steak. "Right now, I have put in calls to the principals of Juan M. Guerrero to F.B. Leon Guerrero to Simon Sanchez and I've asked them to keep a close monitor on the food and to report whatever they find to me or to the Superintendent's Office. We know where food is prepared and where it's delivered to so we're actually keeping track of all the schools, where this school received their food from," he said.
"The food service provider is on top of the situation," Malay added. "They're trying to get more information, more details to find out what might have happened, but at the time they don't have a conclusive answer."
The Department of Public Health has also been provided a sample of the meat for testing.