Several members of Michigan’s National Guard currently stationed in Washington, D.C., to protect the U.S. Capitol have fallen ill after reportedly being fed meals that were badly undercooked, moldy, and sometimes even contained metal shavings.
A staff sergeant with the National Guard, who has requested that his identity be concealed, told WXYZ-TV this week that on Sunday, more than 70 meals were discarded after undercooked beef was discovered, while other meals had metal shavings.
According to the staff sergeant, dozens of soldiers who have been stationed in the nation’s capital since Jan. 6 have gotten sick from the meals, with some of them even requiring hospitalization.
“Yesterday, for instance, there were 74 different meals found with raw beef in them,” he told the news outlet on Monday. “Just yesterday, the lunches were, soldiers had found metal shavings in their food.”
But the anonymous sergeant was not the first to complain about such poor food quality. According to WUSA-TV, a soldier’s mother first raised the issue to Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee several weeks ago. He reportedly contacted the National Guard to take action, but ultimately nothing was done. However, now that hospitalizations have been reported, there is a renewed sense of urgency surrounding the matter
In an update provided to members of Congress, the National Guard reported that 59 soldiers, in all, have been pulled from duty for gastrointestinal issues resulting from the food. The meals were provided by an undisclosed food vendor contracted by the Pentagon.
The issue has reportedly been sent up the chain of command, and Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office is aware.
In a statement, the National Guard called the situation “very concerning,” adding, “The firsthand accounts and pictures of undercooked food being served clearly shows that what is being given to Michigan’s service members is unacceptable.”
State lawmakers in Michigan are demanding that action be taken against the current food provider.
“It is completely unacceptable that our men and women serving in Washington D.C are being hospitalized due to the food they are being provided,” the representatives wrote in the letter to National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Daniel Hokason. “As Representatives of these service members, we request that either the current contract be voided and a new food provider be brought in or that the service members be provided with a per diem throughout their remaining time in Washington, D.C.”