Dead mealworm found in child’s lunch at Florida school

Mealworms file photo: Wikimedia Commons credit MarioM

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Rice is off the menu at Orange County schools.

Every school recalled rice after mealworms were found in the food at Killarney Elementary in Winter Park.

Parents were told to watch their children for illnesses although they believe the mealworms to be non-toxic.

The following letter was sent to parents on Tuesday:

“Good afternoon parents, this is principal Kelly Steinke at Killarney Elementary School. I want to make you aware that today, during lunch, one of our students identified what appeared to be a worm in their meal. Technical staff from food service immediately inspected the meal and found the presence of a dead mealworm. Upon further inspection, the presence of live worms were confirmed in the uncooked rice. The vendor was contacted immediately, as a precaution, the rice has been recalled at Killarney and every other school in the District to ensure that this matter has not been replicated.

“Students were given an alternative replacement for the rice. Because the rice had been delivered to the school within the last 24 hours, OCPS does not believe the issue arose at the school. The health and safety of our students is paramount and the reputation of our award winning food services division is highly guarded. OCPS will be investigating this matter until we have the necessary answers. OCPS does not believe that consumption of the rice will lead to serious health issues. The mealworm present in the meal was cooked and the District has consulted with a statewide expert who believes that the worms would not be toxic or would not cause health problems if ingested. However, we do ask that you please contact the school tomorrow should your child report any unusual symptoms this evening. Thank you for your support of Killarney Elementary School.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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