UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – FOX 5 is getting answers after a Prince George’s County student’s tweet about her unappealing lunch went viral. It all started when this student from Friendly High School posted a picture of a pizza that she said didn’t taste like pizza at all. That led to a wave of tweets from students from other school districts complaining about their food.
Prince George’s County Public Schools officials told us on Tuesday that they take food service very seriously and they started looking into this right away.
They said they want people to understand the pictures that hit Twitter on Monday were in response to the original tweet and the food did not come from their schools. They said they know this because they don’t carry the kinds of trays or brands of milk that were shown.
Photo PGCPS: Photos of lunch meals were not taken from our schools
But whether it was on purpose or a coincidence, when we visited the school, we found a few surprises.
Friendly High School in Fort Washington is the “Home of the Patriots,” but senior student Tamera Perry said a piece of pizza she was served for lunch was nothing to write home about.
“That wasn’t pizza at all,” she told FOX 5’s Marina Marraco. “It was just disgusting.”
Perry said the “Rojo Fiesta Pizza” she received looked bad and tasted worse, and it wasn’t the first time.
“I’ve gotten lunch where my mandarin orange has mold on it,” said Perry. “There have been incidents where the lunch lady had to collect our fruit cup because they were expired. Our milk has been expired. Open up apple juice cartons and it’s been green. It’s just disgusting.”
When FOX 5 showed up at Friendly High School on Tuesday, something else showed up — a truck from Prince George’s County Public Schools’ supplier Eastern Food Services. A delivery man rolled out numerous boxes of brand new food items right into the school’s cafeteria.
“If a student has a concern about anything on their plate, please approach a food services manager,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson Sherrie Johnson.
She said there is a good reason that the Rojo Fiesta Pizza might not taste like regular pizza.
“That was a vegetarian pizza and it did have refried beans on top of it, and she didn’t quite know what that was, so there was a bit of confusion there,” said Johnson.
School officials said they looked at the pictures that were tweeted in response to Perry’s original post. There were pictures of uncooked hamburgers, hollow chicken nuggets and spotty food.
Their conclusion was that none of those pictures came out of a Prince George’s County school cafeteria. They said they know this because some of the trays, food items and milk brands aren’t stocked here.
“We took a look at those pictures, folks from our food services department, and yes, we cannot attest to the validity of those,” Johnson told us. “Yes, all of those pictures are not from Prince George’s County Public Schools.
But as is often the case, when we came here to look at the new food delivery, it was not the only thing we found here.
It was not hard to spot workers smoking in the cafeteria doorway of Friendly High School, a clear violation of the school district’s ban on smoking anywhere on school property.
“I will have to investigate and look into that,” said Johnson.
We spoke with Perry on Tuesday and school officials said they spoke with her as well to explain out that vegetarian pizza wasn’t supposed to taste like regular pizza.
But clearly, this has touched a nerve with high school students no matter where they attend class. Officials said if any student has a problem with any food item, they have the right to take it up with the food services manager, get a replacement item or get a refund.