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Expired School Cafeteria Food Sent to Massachusetts Prisons

Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Apparently in Massachusetts, one government agency considers its out-of-date food another agency’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Boston Globe reports the Massachusetts Department of Education recently donated more than 11,000 cases of frozen chicken, cheese, blueberries and other items that had exceeded their expiration dates to state prisons.  The food had been stored in warehouses that service schools across the state, and was removed when out-of-date food was found in school cafeterias in Boston.

The report says U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines state food that has been properly stored or frozen can remain safe after passing its expiration date, but it does lose some taste and nutritional value.  Even so, some corrections officials weren’t thrilled with the charity and tossed the donated food out.

Still, a spokesman for the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department says it accepted 700 cases of white cheddar cheese last Thursday that had best-by dates of December 10, 2010 and even March 14, 2001.

Spokesman Richard McCarthy said it was a good way to serve good food very frugally, adding, “It’s not rancid food.  It’s not spoiled food.”

Leslie Walker, executive director of Prisoner’s Legal Services, disagrees, saying food that's unfit for schoolchildren should be unfit for any human being.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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