Choking Incident in NYC School Kitchen Raised Alarms Over Chicken

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A segment of the incident report.

A segment of the incident report.

A Department of Education kitchen staff member choked on a bone in a chicken tender he sampled in a high-school in Queens and was saved by a colleague who performed abdominal thrusts in a September incident that sent the Department of Education scrambling.

City Limits reported yesterday that in late September the Office of SchoolFood, reacting to reports of bones and plastic in the tenders, ordered some of the unused tenders destroyed but arranged for much of the DOE’s inventory to be sent through an X-ray facility. After the tenders were cleared, they were sent back to schools and were on the menu for Monday when another staff member, this time at a Manhattan school, found a bone. After media inquiries on Friday, the DOE announced it was temporarily halting use of the chicken.

The incident at Aviator High School on September 26 was apparently what triggered the move to x-ray the prepared poultry. According to a DOE incident report, “[the School Food service manager] was eating lunch when he began to choke on the bone. The Heimlich maneuver was performed and he spit out the bone.”

Asked about the incident, a DOE spokeswoman told City Limits: “The safety of all students and staff is our top priority. We immediately responded, are investigating the incident and will ensure it is addressed. The item was not on the menu the day the incident occurred and distribution will remain on hold until all concerns have been addressed.”

City Limits’ reporting on food policy is supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

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