"Schools in the Dark About Tainted Lunches"

"RACINE, Wis. -- Students at Starbuck Middle School stumbled through the halls just after lunch on Oct. 31, 2007, holding their bellies and moaning. When the vomiting began, teachers knew that it wasn't a Halloween prank. ...

Days would pass before local health officials determined that the tortillas served at Starbuck and four other schools in Racine were to blame for 101 illnesses. ... The company that supplied the tortillas had a long history of making children sick.

Before the illnesses in Racine, flour tortillas from Chicago's Del Rey Tortilleria caused similar outbreaks at more than a dozen schools in two other states -- in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. ... And in a 2006 study of prior outbreaks, a panel of top scientists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even offered this warning: 'Flour tortillas manufactured by Del Rey hold the potential to cause illness.'

Despite the concerns, the FDA never shared the panel's warning with school officials anywhere."

Blake Morrison and Peter Eisler report for USA TODAY November 17, 2009.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009