The real story about the millions of dollars of food thrown out by Memphis City Schools is yet to come out, according to inspectors at Memphis and Shelby County Health Department.

The party line from the district is that too much frozen food was ordered and it was not stored properly. That was accurate to a point.

According to health officials, there are questions about the vendors for the food, how food is ordered, how it was tracked to make sure it went for authorized purposes and whether fraud took place.

Interim Superintendent Dan Ward said it’s all a “glitch,” a comment which demonstrates an apparent passion for understatement.

More to the point, health inspectors say that the most troubling aspect for them is the scope of the problem and an apparent attempt to cover it up. According to them, the value of the food could reach eight digits, and that spoiled food had been refrozen intentionally and mixed with food with current expiration dates to obscure the problem.

Most troubling to health officials is the prospect that records were destroyed or altered to prevent them from easily determining the dimensions of the problem and its causes. No one in local government takes their jobs more seriously than food inspectors, and they are appalled at the risk to students’ health that the food handling created.

Fortunately, the school board seems to have a better grasp of the problem than the staff and understands the need for a serious, objective audit to determine the facts of the problem. It’s impossible to disagree with Commissioner Wanda Halbert that the superintendent needs to deal with this quickly.