Today's lunch? Perfectly offal.

Those who lament the often sorry state of American public education may content themselves with this Pyrrhic victory: American students don't eat raw innards at school, at least not yet. The word out of New Zealand, however, is that that country's students do, indeed, feast upon entrails in the classroom. School contests of dubious academic value, based on the reality show "Fear Factor" (a show where contestants are required to ingest any number of nausea-inducing entities for cash and prizes), have Kiwi kids gulping down raw animal products and, as a result, contracting campylobacter and getting sick. The number of cases usually peaks during lambing season (when dad brings a bad one home for dinner), but just last month there were 226 cases reported in the town of Canterbury - "double the monthly average." The trend may be spreading. While American youngsters aren't yet enticed by uncooked beef guts, a recent goldfish swallowing episode at a suburban Seattle school made headlines when it incurred ire and admonishments from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). As the raw food movement gathers steam with the K-12 set, Gadfly stands firmly with PETA: Noshing on live animals, be they fish - or (gasp!) insect - is a definite no-no, especially in our schools!

"School contests give children food poisoning," by Kamala Hayman, The Press, October 7, 2005

"PETA angry over goldfish swallowed at school assembly," Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 4, 2005