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Boy Charged With Food Tampering

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By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 10, 2007

A 12-year-old student at Rachel Carson Middle School in Fairfax County has been charged with food tampering after a straight pin was found in a cup of applesauce prepared for service in the school's cafeteria, police said yesterday.

The incident is among three in recent weeks in which straight pins have been found in cafeteria food at the Herndon area school. Police said yesterday that a fourth instance of food tampering emerged Tuesday when a student found an inch-long piece of a paper clip in a chicken nugget.

Fairfax police did not identify the boy who was charged because he is a juvenile, but they said he is in seventh grade. The crime he is charged with is a felony, they said.

Yesterday, officials changed the routine at the school's lunch line. Instead of picking food from the counter themselves, the students call out their orders, and the cafeteria workers put the items on a tray.

"At the end of the line, it goes directly from the cafeteria worker to the kid," county schools spokesman Paul Regnier said. He said extra adults also were posted to monitor the cafeteria line.

Police said the boy dropped the pin into the applesauce April 24. It was found by a cafeteria worker before it was served. Two days later, a teacher discovered a pin in a cup of yogurt. On Friday, a cafeteria worker found one in a cup of cranberry sauce.

The boy is charged in the one incident, and investigation into the others is ongoing, authorities said.

"We have gotten great support from the school and great support from the parents," said officer Eddy Azcarate, a police spokesman. He said police have determined that the boy was not responsible for the chicken nugget incident.

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