Parents say they'll sue school cafeteria after what it served child for lunch

@thatscrazy_64/TikTok Africa Studio/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Barnacle burger’: Parents say they’ll sue school cafeteria after what it served their child for lunch

'The look of the burger itself is sickening.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on Mar 4, 2024   Updated on Mar 4, 2024, 9:25 am CST

The quality of a hamburger patty may soon see a U.S. school system in court after a parent’s concerns about food quality in their were allegedly brushed off as a simple preference.

In a set of screenshots shared to TikTok by user @thatscrazy_64, whose content has exclusively featured this hamburger and their complaint about the quality of food presented to them, viewers are shown what is allegedly an exchange between the student’s parent and a representative of the school.

In an email shown as part of the photoset, which has been redacted to remove the name of the county school system and student, the parent of the student describes the quality of the burger patty served as having a “foul smell and unpleasant texture.”

“This incident not only affected my child’s/student’s lunch experience but raises concerns about the amount of students who unknowingly ate this very lunch,” the email reads. “As a parent, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should be served such a thing. The look of the burger itself is sickening and I will be pressing charges; Due to the lack of food regulations being put in place, I believe it is crucial to ensure that the food provided in our school meets the necessary standards of quality, freshness, and safety. I look forward to speaking with you in court.”

The next image in the photoset shows what is allegedly the school’s reply, telling the student’s parent that multiple complaints were received by the district, but it will not be doing anything in response.

“Although there is a slight discoloration with the meat, it is still edible,” the email reads. “If you or your daughter have an issue with the lunch being served, don’t eat it. Packing a lunch is still an option.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @thatscrazy_64 via TikTok direct message regarding the images shared on TikTok.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program, which outlines what kinds of foods can be served to students, and the requirements for the nutritional value of those meals, has general guidance about the ways schools can go about procuring meats and meat substitutes for student meals, including local sources.

The food authority also describes spoiled beef as having turned a brown color before cooking as well as smelling off and being “tacky to the touch.” The color change is due to oxidation, according to the USDA, and some oxidation is normal for meat stored even for a short time but does not render it unsafe to eat. It is unclear from the image presented what condition the burger patty was in before it was prepared.

Some viewers expressed doubt about the claim that the meat had gone off, writing that they have seen a similar appearance in many meat products they have previously made.

“Literally just frozen and directly put on the grill,” one commenter wrote. “I make monthly burger batches with fresh meat and freeze look like dis sometimes never had issues.”

“Poor girl to have to endure frozen burgers being put on her,” another commenter wrote.

“The ‘barnacle burger’ is simply consisted of your average burger meat creating air bubbles that eventually pop due to juices,” a commenter wrote.

Several commenters wrote that they felt jumping to a lawsuit may have been premature action on the parent’s part.

“This is normal with frozen burgers or ones with grid patterns,” one commenter wrote. “Pressing charges is wild.”

“Something about immediately going ‘IM PRESSING CHARGES’ instead of setting up a meeting or something first rubs me the wrong way,” another commenter wrote.

“They should have explained properly why the burger looks like that cus not everyone knows it and they just brush it of when the mother is panicking,” a commenter wrote.

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*First Published: Mar 4, 2024, 12:00 pm CST