7 kids sickened by undercooked chicken nuggets at Pepperell school

A total of 17 students were served the undercooked nuggets on two recent occasions.

The North Middlesex School District is looking into an incident involving undercooked school lunches that caused several middle school students to fall ill. 

District Superintendent Brad Morgan said a total of 17 students at Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell were served undercooked chicken nuggets with their school lunches.

The first incident happened on Thursday, Oct. 27, when 15 students received the undercooked nuggets with their meal. Five kids were sent home due to illness that day.

“School staff alerted the cafeteria vendor — Fresh Picks — immediately, and a new lunch was prepared for the affected students, some of whom later reported to the nurse’s office with stomach illness,” Morgan said in a news release.


The second incident happened a week later, on Thursday, Nov. 3, when two more students told staff they received undercooked nuggets. Those students were also sent home due to illness. 

A spokesman for the district said there was no indication that the students needed medical treatment due to the incidents. 

The district has contracted with Fresh Picks as a food service vendor since 2020. Morgan said the company had had no previous food safety issues during its contract. 

On Friday, school administrators met with leadership from Fresh Picks to address the incidents and prevent a similar issue from happening again.

“The North Middlesex School District takes the nutrition and quality of school lunch very seriously, and will work with Fresh Picks to ensure the quality and safety of food is up to the standards expected by the North Middlesex Regional School District,” Morgan said. 

The school, located at 33 Chase Ave., served approximately 525 students in grades five through eight. 


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