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DepEd probing food poisoning incident in Negros Oriental due to alleged contaminated milk

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
DepEd probing food poisoning incident in Negros Oriental due to alleged contaminated milk
This is a file photo of DepEd's office in Pasig City.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education said on Saturday that it is investigating an incident where bouts of food poisoning affected Negros Oriental-based elementary school students who consumed allegedly contaminated milk during the agency's School-Based Feeding Program.

DepEd said it has worked with the local government unit, the National Dairy Authority and concerned agencies to investigate the incident and conduct an analysis of milk samples. 

"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," it said in an emailed statement on Saturday.

The department said it has helped in providing medical assistance to the affected students and continues to monitor their health. 

DepEd added that it will look into "possible actions" against those responsible for the incident. 

"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 said. 

The elementary-level students were from Sta. Catalina. 

Citing the Sta. Catalina police, Rappler reported on Friday that over 100 students in the town fell ill after drinking fresh milk provided by the DepEd's division office there. 

Pupils who drank the milk were reported to have been vomiting on Thursday night, causing parents and teachers to rush them to the city district hospital, according to the news report. 

The Sta. Catalina police noted that the suspected contaminated milk did not have any label or information about the supplier. 

The School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) is one of the DepEd's priority initiatives. The program seeks to address hunger and encourage learners to improve their nutrition. 

Last month, the department said that procuring locally-produced milk remains its priority for the SBFP. 

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