NEW BOSTON, Ohio – A southern Ohio school district has notified parents that boll weevil beetles may have been in their children's school lunches, the superintendent said Tuesday.
Kitchen workers found the tiny bugs in a bag of dried egg noodles, said Mike Staggs, superintendent of New Boston Schools. They removed the bugs and boiled the noodles, then later used the noodles in lunches that day, he said.
The bugs aren't harmful to humans, but serving any contaminated food is unacceptable, Staggs said. A letter was sent Friday to parents of the district's 473 students informing them about the possible contamination.
The district's food services director, Phyllis Holsinger, resigned and two other cooks were given five-day, unpaid suspensions, Staggs said.
Holsinger did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Staggs said she told him that the cooks initially thought the bugs were pepper flakes but she determined they were boll weevils. Holsinger said she got all of the bugs out of the noodles before they were boiled and felt there was no risk, the superintendent said.
He said the Scioto County Health Department was asked to test the lunches to identify any possible insects or other contaminants.
Dr. Aaron Adams, Scioto County's health commissioner, told the Portsmouth Daily Times that the state health department would "make sure there are no micro-organisms in there," in addition to checking for any visible objects.
The bag of noodles came sealed from the factory, Staggs said. He said district policy requires checking all food before using it.
"They knew that no suspect product is to be used at any time," Staggs said. "We do not use expired or contaminated food."
Information from: Portsmouth Daily Times, http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com
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