The National Guard increased the number of routine inspections at a catering company responsible for feeding troops in Washington, D.C. following reports of metal shavings and uncooked meat.
Members of the National Guard found metal shavings and became sick after eating undercooked meat, Military.com reported. The meals were provided by Sardi’s Catering company, a family-owned business the D.C. National Guard contracted to provide meals for troops stationed at the Capitol.
The National Guard sends a representative to inspect the facilities where meals are prepared and packages by contractors, Maj. Matt Murphy told the Daily Caller News Foundation. The food is delivered by the contractor and distributed by the National Guard from the D.C. Armory, which is a little over a mile and a half from the Capitol building,
“After reports were made of ‘metal shaving’ found in at least one meal provided to Guard members, an inspection of the kitchen used to prepare contracted meals was conducted,” Maj. Murphy told the DCNF. “While no source was definitively determined, metal cleaning scourers used [by the contractor] to scrub pots and pans were identified as a possibility. All scours were discarded on the spot and new, non-metal scourers are now being used.
Reports about the food National Guardsmen are being served in D.C. are appalling. This morning I sent a letter to @SecArmy and @ChiefNGB calling for answers to this unacceptable situation. Send our troops home.
— Greg Murphy (@RepGregMurphy) March 3, 2021
The North Carolina Republican sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau citing reports of guardsmen finding metal shavings, raw meat and worms in meals provided to them. National Guard officials told the guardsmen that they were working with the contractor to address the reported issues, North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy.
“The inedible food that has been served to our National Guardsmen as of late is totally unacceptable,” Rep. Murphy said. “National Guard leadership has informed me that they will now have several soldiers at the caterer’s facility inspecting the food before it is delivered. It is expected that this move will improve the quality of the food being served to our men and women in uniform.”
A spokesperson for Sardi’s said it was proud to serve the military, but did not answer questions about whether the caterer delivered undercooked food to the National Guard, making at least 50 troops sick.
“As part of the quality control process, photos are taken daily of each meal and provided to the contracting officer. Temperatures are carefully regulated, and quality control is emphasized throughout Sardi’s Catering’s process,” a Sardi’s spokesperson told the DCNF. The spokesperson did not say how undercooked food was delivered to the guardsmen if temperatures were closely monitored.
Sardi’s delivers around 5,300 meals three times a day to the National Guard Armory, which are inspected by a National Guard official, the company said in a statement. The National Guard has estimated less than .01% of the 1.2 million meals delivered by Sardi’s were undercooked.
“Meals are delivered to the National Guard Armory, which are then allocated to the units by the National Guard,” a Sardi’s spokesperson told the DCNF. Over 1.2 million meals have been provided to the National Guard stationed at the Capitol since the deadly riot on Jan. 6, Maj. Matt Murphy told the DCNF.
The National Guard did not report finding worms in any meals and the company denied delivering food containing mold, according to Sardi. Rep. Murphy cited social media posts including guardsmen discovering worms in their meals.
Sardi’s Catering said they greatly respect the National Guard and are “proud” to serve “nutritious and safe food” to the troops. The company is required to pre-package individual meals at their facilities to meet COVID-19 restrictions and could not set up a kitchen to work out of closer to the location of the troops, according to Sardi’s.
“We have no further control over the meals after they have been dropped off to the National Guard’s Armory,” Sardi said in a statement. “It’s not clear why or how one particular state unit has recorded so many complaints, while there have been comparatively few complaints from other state units, according to the National Guard.”