At approximately 9 a.m. this morning, staff at the Early Childhood Development Center on Pine Street in the Parkside neighborhood in Camden City called 911 after 25 children ingested milk from sealed cartons with an unidentified substance that had an antiseptic-like odor to it. Eleven students were transported to Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes hospital for examination and discharged later in the morning. Twenty-one additional students were transported by bus with one staff member to Cooper Medical Center and discharged later in the morning as well.
First responders were also called to the Riletta Twyne Cream Early Childhood Development Center on the 1800 block of Mulford Street. Five additional pediatric patients were transported to Cooper Medical Center and were also discharged later in the afternoon hours. Additionally, Cooper University Health Care sent doctors to the Mulford Street location to examine an additional 15 pediatric patients on site who were all cleared to go home.
“This was a scary situation but thankfully, everyone who was exposed to the milk is in stable condition and either back at school or home,” said Camden County Health Officer, Paschal Nwako. “This investigation is ongoing, and our department will get to the bottom of this situation. In addition, I want to thank all of our first responders and public health employees who worked together to protect the health and welfare of these children.”
So far, there are four schools known that have been impacted and preliminary testing has been conducted. Officials are in communication with the milk company and are also locating and removing all the potentially affected product. The Camden City School District will be pulling all milk and will be suspending distribution until the investigation is completed.
The initial investigation by the Camden County Haz Mat team has shown that the contamination may be from a non-toxic sanitizing product used in the manufacturing and packaging of the milk. The county will be working with the state Department of Health and the Camden City School District to continue this investigation.
If you or someone you know may have been exposed or ingested this milk, please call the Camden County Health Department at (856) 549-0530.