School accused of serving raw food in cafeteria

**Embargo: Atlanta, GA** Officials at a Rockdale County high school are in hot water after reports the cafeteria served raw food but the school disagrees.

CONYERS, Ga. — Officials at a Rockdale County, Georgia high school are in hot water after reports the cafeteria served raw food but the school disagrees.

A concerned parent sent CBS46 photos of the lunch served at Salem High School Wednesday.

Pictured are two drumsticks sandwiched between a sweet potato and a piece of bread; but they said the chicken looks raw.

Sophomore Daniel Scott told CBS46 it’s not the first time the school has served pink poultry.

“One day we had the chicken and it was straight pink, and I had to stop my friend from eating it,” said Daniel.

CBS46 contacted Rockdale County schools about the seemingly raw food served to students.

A spokesperson said the chicken is fully cooked, telling CBS46:

“All of our food is prepared daily by our own staff. We had one student return their tray today at Salem and that student was given another meal. The chicken on that tray was temperature tested and was cooked to temperature specifications. It did not brown on top but it was fully cooked.

We take pride in the food we serve and our food services department is consistently recognized by the state for their good work….Salem has high participation in school meals and has not had any food safety concerns. They are inspected regularly by the health department and have not ever scored below an a rating. “

CBS46 then double checked that information with a food safety expert. Mary Beth Hornbeck works with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

“It looks questionable,” said Mary Beth Hornbeck, “but I would have to defer to the person who cooked it and if they cook say yes we stuck a thermometer in it and this is what it read, I would defer to that.”

Hornbeck said what you see doesn’t determine the safety of a dish.

“Whole chicken, chicken legs, no matter what it is, needs to be close to an internal temperature of 165° and that can happen without it having a browning and color change that a lot of people consider appealing, “ said Hornbeck.

She said parents should do research by looking into how their child’s school cafeteria is run and how staff is trained.

CBS46 reached out to the Rockdale Health Department but is waiting to hear back.

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