Derby school district officials assured families that pizza being served for lunch at some schools Thursday was safe to eat, despite a scare on social media.
The district posted a statement on its Facebook and Twitter pages Thursday morning that a Papa John’s employee had said she was sick but would be making pizzas that would be served in Derby schools.
“District staff spoke with the Director of Operations for Papa Johns and was assured that this employee did not go to work yesterday, will not be at work today, and has not handled any of the pizza or ingredients that will be served today,” the district said.
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“We are confident that Papa Johns has addressed the issue and will be providing the same quality pizza they always do. Food safety is always a top priority and we would not hesitate to change the menu if the safety of the meal was in question.”
Tom Wylie, owner of the Wichita-area Papa John’s franchise, said a female employee texted her manager Wednesday night, saying she had the flu and would not be able to work Thursday morning.
The manager did not text her back immediately, Wylie said. In the meantime, the employee posted on her personal Facebook page that she had “the worst flu I’ve ever had … and now I have to work making pizzas for schoolkids,” he said.
Shortly after that, Wylie said, the manager told the employee she did not have to come in to work. The employee deleted the post from her Facebook page, but a screen shot circulated on social media, he said.
“I can tell you, from a health standpoint, that you do not work for us if you’re sick,” said Wylie, chief financial officer for PJ Holdings KY in Lexington, Ky.
“That person did not work, so the pizza that has gone out was perfectly fine and was prepared by people that were 100 percent healthy.”
Derby schools serve Papa John’s or Pizza Hut pizzas for lunch on Thursdays, according to menus on the district’s website. Thursday’s menu for Derby High School and the district’s middle schools included Papa John’s sausage pizza.
Wylie would not say Thursday whether the company had taken action against the employee.
“We’re dealing with that internally right now,” he said.
“Of course we’re not protected from what people say, but we can prove that person didn’t work (Thursday). … We’re very serious about safety measures in our stores and take it with great responsibility.”