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Westford School Cafeteria Food Kept In Barn With Insects, Rodents

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This is the barn in Westford where school food was being stored.

This is the barn in Westford where school food was being stored.

CBS Boston (con't)

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WESTFROD (CBS) — After several Westford students became sick at the same time, officials found that the barn used to store school food was overrun with rodents and insects.

The barn has been a storage facility for Westford cafeteria food for the past 30 years. Two weeks ago, after 70 kids stayed home sick, the barn became the center of an investigation by the health department. While the health department didn’t find a connection between the illnesses and school food, it did become more aware of how the food was being stored.

The barn is full of spiders and lady bugs, it isn’t temperature controlled, there are holes in the walls, and the insulation is falling. In addition there is mouse urine and droppings on the sealed boxes.

WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.

Since the discovery the health department has recommended that everything in the barn be thrown out. Officials estimate there is about $10,000 to $12,000 worth of food inside.

READ: Letter from Westford Health Department agent

It’s something Superintendent of Schools Everett Olsen says is worth doing, no matter what it costs.

“It’s a matter of public trust,” he said, “and in the school system we have earned the trust over a number of years and I don’t want to violate that.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.

The department of education is working with the health department to determine when to throw the food out. The barn will never be used to store cafeteria food again.

READ: Health Department findings

“The food in the food service program is safe. I will eat there tomorrow, and I don’t believe there has been compromise of student safety,” said Olsen.

Excess cafeteria food will now be kept in temperature controlled facilities run by school food vendors.

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