Meat Standards at McD's Loftier Than at Schools

Virtually any fast-food joint is choosier about what your kid eats
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2009 8:56 AM CST
Meat Standards at McD's Loftier Than at Schools
Martha Pickens prepares food for students at Piedmont Elementary Tuesday, May 1, 2007, in Charleston, W.Va.   (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

The millions of pounds of beef and chicken doled out by the National School Lunch program every year wouldn’t pass muster at KFC or McDonald's. Though the meat the USDA buys and then supplies to schools beats the bare minimums imposed on grocery store meat, it doesn’t live up to the far stricter criteria of most fast food joints, USA Today reports, despite a 2000 Department of Agriculture mandate to adopt “the highest standards” for school meat.

McDonald's and Burger King check their beef for bacteria five to 10 times more often than the USDA program, and the bacteria limits at Jack in the Box are up to 10 times higher. For chicken, the USDA sends meat from “spent hens,” old chickens that no longer lay eggs, to schools—the same meat that KFC won’t buy and Campbell’s stopped using in soup a decade ago due to “quality considerations.” (Read more fast food stories.)

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