An investigation was initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) regarding 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).
Issuing a statement on Saturday, May 21, DepEd maintained that as one of its priority initiatives, SBFP aims to “address hunger and encourage learners to enroll and contribute to the improvement of their nutritional status” as mandated by Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act.
Following the report, DepEd has coordinated with the involved local government unit, the National Dairy Authority, and concerned agencies for the analysis of milk samples and the investigation of the incident.
“Based on the field report, the majority of the affected learners experienced mild illnesses, including dehydration and nausea,” DepEd said. “They were treated in nearby hospitals and were discharged later on,” it added.
Nonetheless, DepEd said it has facilitated the “provision of immediate medical assistance to affected individuals.” The agency will also continue to monitor the health status of the affected learners.
Through its Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division and concerned field offices, DepEd reiterated its commitment to continue assisting the learners and their families.
“We will likewise look into possible actions against those responsible entities or individuals,” DepEd 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 the occurrence of similar incidents,” it added.