A Princeton Middle School student is feeling sick after having eaten raw chicken that was served to her for lunch at the school March 10.
The student's mother took her to the hospital where doctors told her the student has signs of salmonella poisoning. A local doctor's office told the mother that the effects of salmonella poisoning can take as long as 72 hours to appear and the doctors won't know for sure until the results of the student's tests come back.
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts between four and seven days.
The Mercer County Board of Education apologized publicly March 12, saying it is taking the necessary steps to make sure this kind of situation never happens again.
Joe Turner, Assistant Superintendent in Mercer County, agreed that the incident was due to human error.
"We should have known the protocol and the temperature that the chicken needed to be cooked at," Turner said. "It should have been noticed when the food was put out on the line; it should never have been put on the students plate.
"Again, it was a mistake, and we're going to make sure this doesn't happen again."
No disciplinary action has been taken yet, and the student with the symptoms will be out of school for the rest of the week.
Parents of students at Princeton Middle School are upset after a picture showing uncooked chicken on a school lunch tray served to students was posted on Facebook.
Princeton Middle School Principal Danny Buckner said some students were served "undercooked" chicken on Monday, March 10. He said when school officials noticed what had happened, the meat was disposed of and children were offered an alternate meal.
Several children were sent home after eating the chicken, saying it tasted funny and they had felt ill.
Local parents said the chicken was "nasty" and the parents are afraid of the children getting salmonella poisoning or becoming sick. The parents said they are frightened and hope their children do not eat what the school system is serving.
"The temperature of chicken needs to be brought to 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds internally, if it's under cooked, you can have salmonella, which is basically going to involve vomiting, throwing up and fever," said Andrew Whittaker of the Mercer County Health Department.
"This is not the first time this has happened," a local mother said. "They've had under-cooked chicken before, I know at the holiday time, that their holiday meals, which is like turkey and gravy and things, the gravy was frozen.
"They're quite often given different types of things that aren't fully cooked, over-cooked, under-cooked. It's just not edible."
The Child Nutrition Supervisor for Mercer County Schools, Pam Reid, was told about the incident. She was at Princeton Middle School Tuesday.
The Mercer County Health Department said it is investigating the school's cooking procedures.