students suffered a mysterious bout of food poisoning-like symptoms late last week and through the weekend.
Roughly two-dozen students reported getting sick after eating Thursday’s school lunches, Hercules Middle High Principal Guy Zakrevsky said today.
The culprits could have been chicken sandwiches or lettuce, he said, adding “numerous students were absent from school Friday. But, Zakrevsky said, he is not certain that food caused the outbreak of sick kids.
In his seven years as principal, this is the only incident of its kind he has seen, Zakrevsky said. “We’re just hearing what people said,” he explained. The principal said no new students have reported sicknesses possibly linked to the lunches since Friday.
“I hate to advertise it as a food poisoning, because there are a lot of other issues” that could have contributed to the students’ illnesses,” said Barbara Jellison, who heads the West Contra Costa Unified School District food services department.
Along with the rest of the district, Hercules Middle High receives its school lunches daily from the district’s food services division.
Jellison said other schools in West County got the same lunches as Hercules high on Thursday, and she has not received reports of food poisoning from other students.
“It’s not impossible that six kids get the flu (at once),” said Jellison, who said she only knew of six students complaining of tainted lunches.
“We serve over 30,000 meals a day in (the district)…food services does take that job very seriously,” she said.
Jellison said the district was investigating the Thursday’s possible food poisoning incident. She called food manufacturers responsible for Thursday’s lunches but found no ingredients to be problematic.
Patch has received several emails and some Facebook comments from Hercules high parents whose children or their friends felt sick after lunchtime, Thursday (to see and join in on that discussion, click here).