One of the most valued experiences throughout any child’s experience in high school is lunch time. During this time, children get to eat food with their friends, talk about their lives, and take a break from the difficulties of their classes. Many kids in school prefer to get their meal from the school cafeteria, as the ability to prepare lunch at home isn’t always available to families. Included in many cafeteria meal plans/options is the ability to get milk. In fact, one of the most popular items on the menu is chocolate milk. Now, imagine your child not being able to take a simple joy like opening a new carton of chocolate milk for granted. Unfortunately, the children in Catskill School District can no longer do so.
In this YouTube video, Casey Miller pours out his chocolate milk onto his cafeteria tray, showing the viewers how sludgy and slimy this milk is. The consistency, color, and texture looks to be that of sewage, and the way it moves as he stirs it with his straw (matched with the disgust in his voice) is indicative that either this milk was incorrectly packaged, or someone is trying to poison these children.
Upon further analysis, we find that it actually is sewage. For the past few weeks, students have been complaining to the teachers and lunch staff of the Catskill School District about the chocolate milk, but no one has put the effort to do anything, when false claims about “taking care of this” were made.
But that’s not enough. Not only does this need to be fixed, but the students also deserve to learn the source of this atrocity.
How could this have happened? It appears that guidelines set forth in the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance of 2005, revised in 2009, were not properly followed. Milk is picked up by a handler who takes a sample of the milk, tests it, and then proceeds to pick up milk from other farms. Before being unloaded at the milk processing plant, plant workers test the tanker truck for antibiotic residue. If it is present, they then dump the entire contents and regulatory testers find which farm the pollution came from. Action is then taken against them.
The manure in question was accidentally used to fill the tanker meant for pasteurized milk. The pasteurized milk was spilled out into the farm’s manure pit. From this first unfortunate event, the handler picking up the milk neglected to test the milk and continued on their journey. Upon arrival at the plant, workers skipped the mandatory test for unknown reasons (perhaps because less than 1% of tank loads to processors test positive). From there it was processed and shipped out into the pints used by local schools.
These pints were then delivered to Catskill High School, and potentially other schools in the area. An anonymous local government official had this to say of the incident: “This is an absolutely unprecedented incident, the farm in question has been in our community for generations and I’m sure they are appalled by what has taken place”. It appears that because the milk was labeled as pasteurized, workers skipped other additional tests once inside the facility that allowed the tainted product to be shipped.
Both the farm and union workers at the plant declined to comment as to how their systems of best management practices failed and allowed this disgusting accident to occur. Following a more thorough investigation, criminal charges may be pressed and the names of both organizations will be released to the public following their arraignment.