DHEC confirms maggots were not found in Hartsville Middle School - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

DHEC confirms maggots were not found in Hartsville Middle School lunch

What a parent thought were maggots in a school's lunch were actually an edible part of a pea. (Source: WMBF News) What a parent thought were maggots in a school's lunch were actually an edible part of a pea. (Source: WMBF News)
Image shared by Kimberly Benton on Facebook allegedly showing maggots on a Hartsville Middle School lunch. (Source: Kimberly Benton) Image shared by Kimberly Benton on Facebook allegedly showing maggots on a Hartsville Middle School lunch. (Source: Kimberly Benton)

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – On Friday, a parent shared on Facebook a SnapChat image that she claimed showed maggots in a school lunch at Hartsville Middle School. On Sunday, the district responded, saying they have pulled the food and begun an internal investigation.

Kimberly Benton posted to Facebook a photo appearing to show two maggots with the caption “Maggots in our food.” Benton said that her daughter sent her SnapChat video that showed the maggots moving around.

Benton went on to say that the school’s principal “just told them to calm down and everything is fine.”

On Sunday, Audrey Childers with the Darlington County School District released the following statement:

On Friday a parent shared a picture that seems to show a bugs in a Hartsville Middle School lunch.  I know many of you have been contacted about it.

We take all concerns like this very seriously. As soon as the parent made us aware of the concern on Friday, we pulled the food from the serving line, contacted DHEC, and began our internal investigation. At this point we have found no evidence of a bug infestation (or even a single bug) in the food at Hartsville Middle School; however, we continue to investigate and, as always, we will work with DHEC in their inspections. 

According to the Darlington County School District and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, they weren't maggots, but actually a natural - and edible - part of a pea called a radicle. 

Audrey Childers, a spokesperson for Darlington County Schools, said she was very worried when she heard the initial complaint from a concerned parent that bugs were in the school lunches.

Following protocol, the tray of field peas was removed from the serving line and DHEC was called to do a full investigation. 

According to those results, what the child had originally thought was a maggot was actually a part of a pea called the radicle and it's completely safe to eat. 

Radicles will sometimes pop out of a pea if it's been cooked a little longer than normal, but they present no harm. 

"We always call DHEC when something like this is involved because we want our children to be as safe and to provide our children with the best education, as well as the best food, the best environment, that we possibly can," Childers said.

Childers agreed that radicles do look like maggots and can understand the confusion. However, she said the school district remains confident that the lunches they are serving are safe.

According to Childers, parents and children are encouraged to continue reporting potential issues like this, so the school can react immediately and ensure the health of their students.

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