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School Cook Fired for Serving Kangaroo Meat to Students

Kangaroos, for reference. | shutterstock
Kangaroos, for reference. | shutterstock

Americans are pretty set on which animals are OK to eat. Pigs, cows, etc. -- totally fine. Cats, ferrets, etc. -- not so much. But kangaroos? Are kangaroos OK? If the reaction from this school district is any indication, the answer is absolutely not. 

NBC Nebraska reports that a chef at a public school served kangaroo to students for lunch on October 10 without telling them and has since been fired. Superintendent Mike Williams of the Potter-Dix school district in Potter, Nebraska sent out a letter to parents, also posted on Facebook, in response to the incident, apologizing for "the anxiety and any harm" that serving the meat had caused.

The head cook who served the lunch, Kevin Frei, explained to Williams that he'd added kangaroo to that day's chili for its nutritional value and "because it is a very lean meat." While Williams acknowledged that it meets USDA standards and that he does not "think kangaroo meat is unhealthy or dangerous," he expressed his remorse over the incident and promised that it would never happen again. 

“It is without a doubt not a normal staple of our diet and will not, nor will any other non-staple foods, be a part of the Potter-Dix meal program,” Williams explained in his letter. “If a family wants to eat exotic foods, they can do so on their own time -- not at school. If we were to have food or ingredients that are out of the ordinary, they should be listed on the menu so that the students and families are aware of what they would be being served. We will no way be serving food of this nature again. Period.”

Judging by the tenor of the accompanying Facebook post, parents did not take this revelation in stride. "While we understand that it has stirred strong emotions in everyone, we would appreciate if you would refrain from commenting," the caption reads. "Any comments will be deleted. If you have a concern, please contact the school." 

Time points out that eating kangaroo is a common practice in Australia, France, and Germany.

h/t Time, NBC Nebraska

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.