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Second Harvest gets to keep 32K pounds of meat from accident

5:42 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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Update:  Second Harvest says that Smithfield has agreed to donate the meat to the food bank, and the USDA has inspected and cleared the meat to be used.

The Salvation Army also received some of the meat, about 39 cases.  Despite the fact it got USDA approval, Knox County Health Director Dr. Martha Buchanan instructed them to throw the meat out.

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An East Tennessee food bank is left holding onto more than 40,000 pounds of pork, just a few days after it salvaged it from a tractor trailer accident.

Sunday, the Knoxville Police Department asked both Second Harvest Food Bank, of Maryville, and The Salvation Army to help it collect packaged meat from a tractor trailer that had flipped on the ramp to the James White Parkway from I-40 West.

While Elaine Streno, executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank, said she was thankful that no one was injured in the incident, the whole experience turned out to be a "gift" to her organization.

"I would say it would probably provide about 40,000 meals for the next two or three weeks," she said.

But, Second Harvest learned on Monday, it would have to wait before it could send the meat to any of its partner non-profit agencies. Both the trucking company and the meat company, Smithfield, asked that it not distribute the meat.

"We feel like there was a glitch in the communication between the trucking company and the meat company because it [the accident time] was 10 a.m. on a Sunday," Streno said. "But, we had been given approval by the drivers to come pick this stuff up."

Streno said Smithfield has been generous to Second Harvest in the past. She said she remains optimistic they will let her non-profit agency keep the meat for distribution. As for The Salvation Army, it told 10News it has not been asked to avoid using the meat as of yet.

One non-profit agency that will also have to wait to see if it can receive any meat is Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) near downtown Knoxville. KARM, which is partnered with Second Harvest, would have received some of the pork, according to Streno.

However, KARM spokesperson Sue Renfro said her agency will be fine.

"We have many tremendous partnerships," Renfro said. "So, regardless of the circumstances or events, we're very grateful for everything we receive."

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