I’m listening to an NPR health podcast, and it just mentioned that some lots of Similac baby formula have been recalled because of insects and larvae found in it.
This reminded me of when my son was in the fourth grade at Connaught Public School. He also attended the school’s After-Four program every day.
One evening we were eating dinner and I asked him what he’d learned that day.
“I learned,” he said, “that bugs are 100% pure protein!”
“Oh yeah?” I asked. “How’d you learn that?”
“Well,” he said, “In After-Four we were going to make some muffins but the flour was full of bugs. We were going to throw it out, but then we wouldn’t have had any muffins, and then Mark said bugs are 100% pure protein so we made the muffins anyway.” (Mark was the After Four program’s staffer.)
“Really?” I asked.
“Yup,” he said.
“Did you eat the muffins?”
“Were they good?”
The next day I called the school and spoke with the principal.
“Did you know,” I asked her, “that bugs are 100% pure protein?”
“Excuse me?” she asked.
I told her the story as James had told it to me, and she chuckled in response.
“I’ll check into it,” she assured me, “But I’m positive it didn’t happen. I’m sure there’s been some kind of misunderstanding.”
About an hour later she called me back and she was noticeably upset.
“I checked into it and it’s true. I cannot believe any staff member here would show such poor judgment. Mark said he checked with the Home Ec teacher and she said they were weevils and the kids wouldn’t get sick if they ate them. Mark tried to justify his actions by saying we just have a cultural bias against eating insects in North America. I told him we follow the standards of our own culture here. Frankly, I’m mortified.”
She was way more mortified than me. I was actually pretty easy-going about the whole thing. I just would prefer that my kid not eat infested food.
“We haven’t had any reports of any of the After Four children falling ill, but I don’t know if I need to notify their parents as to what took place yesterday. I don’t think there are any health issues. Let me assure you that I am taking this very seriously and it will never happen again. I’m firing Mark.”
I certainly didn’t want to see heads roll over it, especially not Mark’s. He was a nice young man and the kids adored him. My son would never forgive me.
“You can’t fire Mark!” I protested.
“I have no choice,” she said. “I cannot trust his judgment.”
“If you fire Mark,” I pointed out, “You’ll have to fire the Home Ec teacher too. Mark showed good judgment by asking her before using the flour.”
She didn’t want to fire the Home Ec teacher. I didn’t want her to fire Mark. In the end it was decided that nobody would get fired. It was a close call, though, for Mark.
I wonder if anybody over at the Similac baby formula company is going to get fired.