The Camden School District says disinfectant is found in milk cartons at early childhood development centers

Camden, New Jersey (WPVI) – Students at two early childhood development centers in Camden were sent to the hospital on Wednesday out of a wealth of caution after a substance was found in milk cartons, officials said.

At around 9 a.m., staff at the Early Childhood Development Center on Oren Street called the 911 hotline after 25 children swallowed milk from sealed cartons with an unidentified substance that had an antiseptic-like odor, according to health ministry officials.

According to officials in the Camden School District, the substance was determined to be “a non-toxic non-toxic disinfectant that passes through the power machines before the milk”.

The county said many cartons were filled with the disinfectant, sealed and then shipped out with the milk.

Eleven students were taken to Virtua Lady of Lourdes Hospital for examination and released later in the morning.

Another 21 students were transferred by bus with one staff member to Cooper Medical Center, officials said. They were also released later in the morning.

First responders were also called to Riletta Twyne Cream’s Early Childhood Development Center on Block 1800 on Molford Street.

Five more children were taken to Cooper Medical Center and also released in the afternoon. In addition, Cooper University health services sent doctors to the scene on Molford Street to examine 15 more children at the site, all of whom have been given permission to go home.

“It was a scary situation but fortunately, everyone who was exposed to milk was in a stable condition and went back to school or home,” said Camden County Health Officer Paschal Navaku. “This investigation is ongoing, and our department will go to the bottom of this situation. In addition, I want to thank all the first responders and our public health workers who worked together to protect the health and well-being of these children.”

The county said it withdrew all the milk Wednesday from the school facility and will do so again on Thursday.

So far, four schools are known to have been affected and preliminary tests have been conducted, officials said.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of food and the well-being of our communities. We fully cooperate with the investigation in Camden and thank you for the prompt action of our staff, the school district, the emergency professionals, and all those who responded as soon as the problem was discovered,” said a spokesman. Aramark, the provider of schools in Camden County.

According to the district, the Early Childhood Development Center “serves the social, emotional and educational needs of early childhood and kindergarten students.”

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