NJ: ‘Tainted’ school milk sends dozens of children to hospitals
State health officials urged all public school cafeterias on Wednesday to check their milk from one dairy distributor, after dozens of Camden preschoolers were rushed to local hospitals after drinking milk contaminated with a sanitizing product.
"At least 25 children have been hospitalized due to the presence of peroxyacetic sanitizer in Guida’s 1% Lowfat Milk, code dated 09-183 Apr 11 B2," according to a notification released by municipal and county officials on Wednesday evening.
Other Guida’s milk may be affected as well and the state told health departments to pull any of that brand from school supplies.
It was not immediately clear whether the state alert was referring to the same Camden children who had been evaluated and discharged from area hospitals on Wednesday.
Camden preschool 911
A 911 call was placed on Wednesday morning by staff at Camden’s Early Childhood Development Center on Pine Street, after two dozen children drank milk from “sealed cartons with an unidentified substance that had an antiseptic-like odor to it,” the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services said.
Eleven of those young students were taken to Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, while 21 more students were taken by bus with one staff member to Cooper Medical Center.
All were examined and discharged later in the morning.
Second Camden preschool call
First responders were also called to the Riletta Twyne Cream Early Childhood Development Center on the 1800 block of Mulford Street on Wednesday.
Five children from that preschool were taken to Cooper Medical Center and were discharged by the afternoon.
Doctors were then sent to the Mulford Street school to examine another 15 children on site — all were cleared to go home.
“This was a scary situation but thankfully, everyone who was exposed to the milk is in stable condition and either back at school or home,” Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako said in a written release.
“This investigation is ongoing, and our department will get to the bottom of this situation. In addition, I want to thank all of our first responders and public health employees who worked together to protect the health and welfare of these children.”
By Wednesday evening, at least four of Camden’s public schools were known to have been impacted and preliminary testing was done.
The county said it was working with the state Department of Health and the Camden City School District to continue its investigation.
Officials also had contacted the milk company, which is based in Connecticut according to the Guida's website.