Are U-Hauls refrigerated? Labs test food prior to US political conventions

Katie Demeria of the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes that a state lab is working to ensure that the food served at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is contamination-free.

u-haulVirginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services is currently testing samples of the food — including massive blocks of hamburgers to a case of pork tenderloins — that will be served at the convention, which takes place July 25-28.

Samples of the food came from the vendors selected to supply the convention.

“We’re looking for microbial agents or bacteria that should not be there, such as anthrax,” said Christopher Waggener, lead scientist for microbiology. “We’re also screening for another biothreat agent called ricin and another agent that causes botulism.”

Scientists also are looking for environmental contaminants, such as E. coli or salmonella, as well as radioactive elements that should not be in the food.

The lab will wrap up its tests and report the results today.

Last Friday, 400 pounds of meat arrived at the consolidated laboratory’s building in the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park in downtown Richmond.

“We met USDA inspectors at the door, and they brought a U-Haul down with cases and cases of meat,” Waggener said.