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Mt. Horeb school lunch may have been contaminated

Published On: Apr 09 2013 04:53:51 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 07 2013 12:19:18 PM CDT

Adrienne Jurewicz, parent of Mt. Horeb student who ate cafeteria food Wednesday

MT. HOREB, Wis. -

The Mt. Horeb School District put parents on alert after one of their lunch items appeared on an E. coli recall list.

An email sent Friday said Farm Rich brand Pepperoni Pizzatas could pose a risk.  The product was served Wednesday to K-12 students.  Since then, Rich Products Corp. expanded a voluntary list of E. coli-prone items to include the Pizzatas.

Mt. Horeb's school administration has received no reports of illness linked to the cafeteria food, but urged parents to seek medical attention for their child if they are experiencing E. coli symptoms, and to contact the Public Health Department or the school nurse for assistance.

The Centers for Disease Control reports 27 E. coli infections around the country, including two in Wisconsin. About 81 percent of those cases are people 21 or younger.

Adrienne Jurewicz has three children in Mt. Horeb schools. She said the district is very proactive in communicating with parents, and she appreciated the prompt and informative warning.

“You never want to see the words 'E. coli' in a school email obviously, but I wasn't too concerned because I figured if it was anything else, they would let us know,” Jurewicz said. “We were just fortunate that no one was sick.”

Jurewicz added she will not limit her children’s meal choices based on this situation.

“I went back to the calendar to see which one of the kids had hot lunch on Wednesday, and realized one of ours did and was feeling fine, so I knew that we were probably safe,” Jurewicz said.

Scott Chapman owns and runs Great Scott’s Pizza just down the street from the schools. While he’s not familiar with Pizzatas, he said pizza ingredients are no more susceptible to contamination, as long as you refrigerate ingredients below 41 degrees and cook them over 141 degrees. 

“They're probably doing it because its kids,” Chapman said. “They're being proactive and saying there might be an issue, although they might not actually have anyone get sick from it.”

As an extra precaution, Chapman makes sure all of the meats used for toppings are fully cooked before they hit the crust.

“We get toppings that are pre-made, so we don't have to worry about someone grabbing raw sausage or raw chicken and then reaching over and grabbing onions, and now every pizza they touch from now on has sausage and stuff on them,” Chapman said.

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