The Department of Education (DepEd) on Saturday said it is looking into apparent cases of food poisoning believed caused by contaminated milk fed to school children in Negros Oriental.
“The Department of Education (DepEd) is investigating a suspected food-borne illnesses involving elementary students in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, due to alleged contaminated milk distributed in schools in the area under the School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP),” DepEd said in a statement posted on Facebook.
The department said it has coordinated with the local government unit of Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, as well as the National Dairy Authority, and concerned agencies for the investigation and analysis of the milk samples.
Some100 students in Sta. Catalina were reportedly hospitalized after drinking fresh milk given by the DepEd, according to a report on the State of the Nation program on Friday.
Based on the initial police investigation, the municipality’s district supervisor said the victims vomited and some were rushed to the hospital hours after consuming the milk from the Negros OrientalSchool Division Office.
“Based on the field report, majority of the affected learners experienced mild illnesses, including dehydration and nausea. They were treated in nearby hospitals and were discharged later on,” the DepEd said.
“Nonetheless, DepEd has facilitated the provision of immediate medical assistance to affected individuals and will continue to monitor their
health status,” it added.
The DepEd said the SBFP is one of its priority initiatives and aims to address hunger among learners and encourage them to enroll. The program also aims to contribute to the improvement of the learners’ nutritional status, in accordance with Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act.
“DepEd, through the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division and concerned field offices, is committed to continue assisting the learners and their families. We will likewise look into possible actions against those responsible entities or individuals,” the department said.
“The health and safety of our learners remain the utmost priority of the Department, and we will ensure that measures will be instituted to prevent occurrence of similar incidents,” it added.