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Fast Food Hamburgers Safer Than School Lunches

Photo by ZeroOneFast food meat is safer than school lunches.

Fast food meat is safer than school lunches.

Fast food is notorious for its high calories and fat content; however, a new study has found the meat served by restaurant chains, such as McDonald’s, is actually safer than the hamburgers served in school lunches.  It is not that fast food, largely responsible for the obesity epidemic in America, is healthier than school lunches, but fast food restaurants have stricter safety standards. Considering children are “most susceptible to food-borne illnesses”, it is morally reprehensible the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) does not take food safety seriously.

The NSLP was established in 1946 under the National School Lunch Act during the Truman administration.  The first McDonald’s opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, CA.  The NSLP was designed to provide “nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day”.  McDonald’s was designed to provide cheap, fast food to families while making a profit through franchising.  The intensity of the fast food industry’s growth has affected the beef industry.  Slow Food Revolution explains:

The fast food industry has changed the slaughter and meat packing industry. The fast food industry needs to produce tremendous amounts of chopped beef for its millions of pre-prepared hamburger patties sold each day. The methods used to produce those hamburgers are creating a situation where meat packing plants are moving away from their former areas where unionized and trained meat packers slaughtered animals in a fairly efficient and humane manner. The new plants have moved to smaller towns where underpaid workers, often immigrants, are slaughtering animals and producing meat in an unsafe manner. The dangers of contamination of this meat are getting higher and higher. The working conditions are dangerous for the employees as well.

Given this description, it is even more frightening to think that fast food giants have higher safety standards than school lunches.  USA Today reports:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program “meets or exceeds standards in commercial products.”

That isn’t always the case. McDonald’s, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.

And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef.

The USA Today investigation found the USDA regularly provides schools with meat from “spent hens” that even Kentucky Fried Chicken and Campbell’s soup won’t use for “quality considerations”.  Ground beef is sent to schools with “unusually high levels of an indicator bacteria known as ‘generic E. coli'” that would have been rejected by fast food giants.

We’ve previously reported on how the National School Lunch Program is heavily influenced by lobbyists and a shocking video of a downed cow being lifted by a forklift to pass USDA inspections by a leading supplier to the NSLP.  We’ve even told you how cheeseburgers are healthier than some kinds of baby food.  It is astounding to me that our children do not get the highest quality food, especially in a government sponsored program, such as the NSLP.


  1. Wow, that is scary. You would think schools would have higher standards.

  2. I have been fighting to have millions of pounds of contaminated meat recalled that was produced using a warehouse facility that makes the PBA facility look like the Ritz. The pictures I gave to the USDA and the FDA showed RAT fecal matter and rodents nests on food ingredients and materials, I submitted documents to the USDA proving the use of this contaminated warehouse for years and was denied a recall of my own products .Why –to protect a State institution that was contracted to produce this meat for my company.

    Agencies state the manufacturer must generate the recall and the FDA and USDA not having the authority to initiate this action as the reason bad food gets into the system .This is not so ,I am proof of this statement not being accurate. Even when the USDA went and found this contaminated warehouse with live rodents they never tested any product for salmonella and co-operated with the state of Florida to use possible contaminated ingredients in further meat processing.

    I applaud your very fine story and comments and appeal to you to visit my blog site http://bullstone-larrym.blogspot.com/ and see the evidence of rat fecal contamination in meats produced by an instrument of the State of Florida department of Corrections. I have been battling with the USDA to issue a recall on the millions of pounds of meat the State of Florida produced under contract for my company. This meat was distributed nation wide to schools, supermarkets and institutions. When we discovered that this Florida State division was storing food supplies and edible ingredients in a rat infested warehouse we began our quest to get this information to the public and get accountability placed on those who allowed this to happen. When you read the information on my blog you will see the validity of both our stories .I support your efforts and request your support of mine. Regards Larry Stone

  3. I have an idea. Why don’t you stop leaving spam??? Also, maybe learn how to use periods.

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks

  5. Is it true?I always thing hamburgers are not as healthy as the lunches in school.


  1. […] are not the decision makers – parents are. By the way, did you know that there are groups like Eco Child’s Play and studies that claim that fast food from sources such as McDonalds are actually safer than school […]

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