Riverside Unified School District responds after moldy cheese allegedly served to students

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Parents of Riverside Unified School District students are crying foul after a social media post displayed photos of expired and possibly moldy cheese served as part of school lunches.

"It looked rank to me. I'm pretty concerned now," said parent Claudia Flores.

Other parents had similar reactions to viewing the photos which where posted to the Facebook group "What is going on in Riverside County?" by someone who says they were concerned for the safety and health of students.

"If this is something that RUSD is providing to all of the schools then in that case I have to send from my home lunch to my son. That way I know he is eating good food," said Diana Lopez.

An expiration date of June 15, 2021 is seen on the packaging in one photo. In another, white specks dot cheese slices placed on sandwich bread, and while it may not look appealing, it's not mold.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, RUSD Nutritional Services Team says:

"RUSD leadership is aware of the social media post regarding cheese and can assure you that the cheese does not contain mold and is safe to eat. What you see on the photo are crystals from storing the cheese in the freezer, which extends the shelf life. According to the USDA, cheese kept continuously frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit is safe to consume for 6 months after the sell-by date.

The cheese manufacturer, Bongards Premium Cheese, also confirmed that the cheese contains emulsified crystals from storing in the freezer, but it is not mold and does not pose a food safety issue.

The RUSD Nutrition Services Central Kitchen continues to maintain an A rating from the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health and remains committed to providing safe and nutritious meals for students."

Even so, some parents remain skeptical.

"I don't know about that because I freeze cheese for long time and when I use it, it doesn't look like that," said Flores.

As for the children who consume school lunches, they had mixed reaction.

"My school lunches, I think they are really good and it tastes really, really awesome," said Evan Myers, a first grader.

"I don't eat it. I don't eat anything at school," said student Isabella Cisneros.

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