Saturday, April 26, 2003


mmmmm.....ammonia tastes good....

CHICAGO (AP) - State documents show Illinois education officials failed to notify schools that some food shipped to them had been contaminated with ammonia, even though some cafeteria managers had complained for a year, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Dozens of children were sickened.

The food was contaminated when a ruptured pipe leaked 90 pounds of ammonia refrigerant at Gateway Cold Storage in St. Louis on Nov. 18, 2001.

State education officials have said they assumed a plan to treat the food had worked, but documents showed the state Board of Education knew in early 2002 that ammonia-laden food was still showing up in schools, the Tribune reports in Sunday editions.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector was present around the time of the leak but the agency did not notify schools or other agencies, and the department later allowed food to be shipped out of the Gateway warehouse despite a quarantine, the newspaper said.

Nearly a year after the leak, 42 children at Laraway Elementary School in Joliet were rushed to a hospital after eating chicken tenders from the warehouse that state health officials said contained up to 133 times the accepted level of ammonia.