Posted 7:10 PM 2/7/2013 : School responds to students finding mealworms in lunch
The El Paso County Health Department confirms mealworms or weevils were found inside soup being served to students during lunch inside Harrison High School Wednesday.
The school has already sent out letters to parents notifying them about the incident. Now, the investigation begins to find out how this happened.
Wednesday evening, a student at Harrison High School sent News 5 a photograph of a mealworm found in a bowl of soup. Though unclear exactly how many teens ate the soup prior to the discovery, Tom Gonzales, environmental health director for El Paso County says students and parents shouldn't be too worried.
"The risk for these insects is very low to human health," he said.
Unless you have a weak immune system, you're not likely to experience any symptoms of food borne illness. Still, the news causes some concern for health inspectors.
"We take these complaints seriously," Gonzales said. "We immediately responded and sent an environmental specialist out to Harrison High School. We're working with the school district as well as the state health department in a collaborative effort to make sure this doesn't happen again."
Pulling previous health inspection violations at Harrison High, the school had six documented problems since 2011. The good news---all have been corrected.
"We've seen a real attentive correction if there is a violation from our schools and overall, our schools are safe to eat at," Gonzales.
The district released this statement:
"Yesterdays incident of a compromised batch of soup was unfortunate and handled quickly and professionally in the first ten minutes of the first lunch period by the school's Nutrition Services Department, the staff on lunch duty and the leadership at the school. Harrison School District contacted the local Health Department for support in contacting the food vendor to ensure this was an isolated incident and to request their assistance. The Health Department assured us that the students who may have ingested the soup were safe and not at risk for any food borne illness. All students in the first lunch were offered another entrée and their lunch account credited for the day, regardless of whether they had selected soup that day."
To view health inspection reports at your child's school, visit http://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/