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Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton). (Photo: U..S. House of Representatives.)

Caterer pushes back on claims of tainted food

Smith wants their contract axed over sickened National Guard members

By Nikita Biryukov, March 04 2021 12:31 pm

A Maryland-based catering company sought to defend itself after Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) suggested the firm was responsible for reports of food poisoning among National Guard members deployed to the U.S. Capitol.

“When we receive a complaint referred to us by the National Guard, we investigate and take immediate corrective action. The National Guard has estimated about less than .01 percent of the 1.2 million total meals we have served since January 2021 have been undercooked,” a spokesperson for Sardi’s Catering said. “The National Guard has reported no confirmed cases of foodborne illness.”

On Tuesday, The Detroit News reported complaints from members of the Michigan National Guard about meals that were undercooked or otherwise lacking.

Smith said dozens of New Jersey’s National Guard members were made ill by the meals, including some who vomited in the Senate parking lot.

The congressman, the third most senior member in the House, said the Guard needed to find a new meal source immediately, but the caterer isn’t keen to give up the contract that sees it prepare more than 15,000 meals each day.

They said deliveries are inspected and stamped, adding that meals are delivered in bulk and handed out to individual units by the Guard itself.

“We are a trusted family business and an institution in the Washington area, with a spotless reputation for quality, service, and integrity,” the Sardi’s Catering spokesperson said. “The National Guard continues to closely monitor the quality and safety of meals provided to its personnel, and we are working closely with them to ensure our troops continue to have delicious and nutritious meals during their deployment to Washington.”

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