An investigation into the incident has been launched with the help of the school district, announced authorities.
On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, a dozen of elementary school students in Alaska's capital accidentally drank floor sealant instead of milk, during a summer program at the school according to Juneau School District officials. One child received medical treatment at Bartlett Regional Hospital after consuming the substance, according to the district, and two more were picked up from the RALLY program at Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ – Glacier Valley Elementary School and may have sought medical advice. RALLY sites at Harborview Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School were unaffected, according to Superintendent Bridget Weiss, reported PEOPLE.
Alaska Students Served Floor Sealant Instead of Milk for Breakfast Due to Mix-Up, School District Says https://t.co/ucV4q3C0ep— People (@people) June 16, 2022
“Tonight there is a lot — as you can imagine because this is concerning — of information out there that may or may not be accurate,” she told the Juneau Board of Education at its regularly scheduled Tuesday evening meeting. “We don’t have a lot of information yet because this literally transpired today.” Shortly after breakfast was served, “students complained of the milk tasting bad and burning their mouth/throat,” according to an email sent by the district to parents and shared with the Empire. RALLY serves kids 5-12, according to the district. According to the district, all “breakfast components” were served by NANA Management Services staff and placed on trays, which children brought to a cafeteria to consume. “It was confused for milk, which sounds hard to believe, but if you have used anything yourself it is similar,” Weiss said. ”It is milky, white fluid.”
Elementary school children in Alaska were served floor sealant instead of milk at a child care program, the school district said. https://t.co/W8SU2giH8e— CNN (@CNN) June 16, 2022
After the complaints, district and NMS staff smelled and tasted the substance thought to be milk and examined the container and label, according to the district. “It was found that the ‘milk’ served was actually a floor sealant resembling liquid milk,” the district’s email to parents stated. “Staff immediately directed students to stop consuming the substance and removed it. Twelve students ingested the chemicals. The RALLY site manager immediately contacted poison control. All steps provided by poison control were carefully followed and parents/guardians of the students who ingested the chemicals were informed of the incident.”
The district further investigated and discovered that the mix-up occurred when a pallet of floor sealant was delivered along with four pallets of shelf-stable milk to the JDS food community in the spring of 2021. "This warehouse is reserved for food items only for JSD," the district explained in its press release. The pallet of floor sealant remained untouched until NANA Management Services (NMS) — an Anchorage-based caterer that provided all of the food items — ran short of milk this week and tasked staff with retrieving some shelf-stable milk from the warehouse. On June 14, three boxes of the floor sealant were "picked up from the warehouse by NMS and one was delivered to the NMS food worker at" the elementary school, the release stated.
The other two boxes were delivered to Harborview Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School where they remained unopened. "We don't know how that happened, but they were all put on the same pallet," Weiss remarked. "That pallet was delivered, and the assumption was that it was milk because that's what we thought was being delivered."
In Alaska, at least one child was taken to a hospital after a dozen students were served floor sealant during breakfast on Tuesday instead of milk. An investigation into the incident has been launched with the help of local authorities.https://t.co/3oYBpSu7nP— NPR (@NPR) June 16, 2022
According to the school district, students were monitored by staff and some were taken by parents for medical treatment at the Bartlett Regional Hospital or their medical provider. Fortunately, all affected students were recovering as of Wednesday evening and some are said to have fully recovered. In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, NMS, said they are "supporting the full investigation" and "looking at every contributing factor to determine what happened. This process is key to identifying potential safety measures and putting those safety measures to work."
Cover Image Source: GettyImages | Picture by Johnny Greig