Parents concerned after photo surfaces of pink burger served at Harrisburg’s Rowland Academy

Photo: Ashley Adams

HARRISBURG — A Facebook post about pink hamburger served to a student at Rowland Academy earlier this week has some Harrisburg parents up in arms, while officials from the Harrisburg School District’s food service company insist the burger was fully cooked.

The uproar began when Facebook user Ashley Adams posted a photo of the burger on the Concerned Citizens of the Harrisburg Community Facebook group page and expressed concerns about food quality at the middle school. Her post quickly generated dozens of comments and was reported on by

Officials from Southwest Foodservice Excellence, the school district’s food service company, said in a statement the burger was fully cooked, despite the “signs of pink coloration.”

The statement from SFE reads:

“SFE, together with district administrative leaders, promptly investigated the situation, first reviewing all kitchen procedure and temperature logs. They also contacted Advance-Pierre Foods (a Tyson Foods company), the manufacturer that supplies SFE with these hamburger patties, delivered already fully cooked.

SFE stated that it uses only fully cooked, flame-broiled hamburger patties, and that Advance-Pierre Foods is its sole provider of these patties. Further, all temperature logs reviewed at Rowland Middle School indicated proper temperature controls and full adherence to HACCP Food Safety protocols.

While SFE agreed that the patty in the Facebook photo showed signs of pinkness, SFE and Advance-Pierre Foods jointly gave full assurance today that this product is both fully cooked and entirely safe to eat. SFE also stated that they will continue to study the opportunity, dedicated to optimizing serving processes to ensure that all items are served with the highest level of safety and appeal possible.”

Tyson Foods, whose affiliate, Advance-Pierre Foods, provides the burger patties to SFE, also released a statement, assuring parents the the burgers were fully cooked.

“We’re committed to providing only safe food for our students. The burger shown in the photo is fully-cooked, not raw. Sometimes fully-cooked meat can revert back to a pinkish color if it’s placed for an extended period time in a high-temperature/low-oxygen container or appliance, such as a steam pan or holding oven. The change in color is harmless and does not affect the safety or taste of the product.”


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