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School cook who served kangaroo meat in a chili loses his job

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/20/2018 Joel Shannon

an animal standing in a body of water: This photo from July 2002 shows a kangaroo standing next to a waterhole on a station near White Cliffs, an outback area in the state of New South Wales. © WILLIAM WEST, AFP/Getty Images This photo from July 2002 shows a kangaroo standing next to a waterhole on a station near White Cliffs, an outback area in the state of New South Wales.

A Nebraska public school district says it will not be serving kangaroo meat again after a recent incident that cost a cook his job.

Kevin Frei, the former junior/senior high school head cook at Potter-Dix school district, added kangaroo meat to a chili served for lunch on Oct. 10, according to a Wednesday letter from district superintendent Mike Williams.

When later confronted about the decision to serve the exotic meat mixed with beef, Frei said he used kangaroo meat for its nutritional value. It's a very lean meat, Frei told Williams, according to the letter.

Williams said in the letter that he doesn't believe the meat was dangerous and that it was subject to proper government standards. 

However, the decision to eat exotic meat should be made by families, not schools, he wrote. Williams also wrote that food containing any unusual ingredients should be clearly labeled.

Oct. 3: Baby kangaroo adorably greets the world peeking out of mom's pouch

Aug. 9: Australia relaxes rules on shooting kangaroos during historic drought

"On behalf of Potter-Dix Public Schools, I apologize for the anxiety and any harm that this has caused individual students and/or families. We will make sure that something like this never occurs again," he wrote.

On Thursday, Williams said that Frei no longer works for the district, the Associated Press and NBC Nebraska report.

Kangaroo meat has been championed by some for its taste, nutrition and environmental  benefits, according to a 2013 BBC report. Proponents say it compares favorably with beef or pork.

Williams' letter says that Frei repeatedly provided documentation about the nutritional quality of Kangaroo meat.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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