Hiland Dairy recalls batch of chocolate milk; dozens of minors drank contaminated milk in hospital

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Hiland Dairy recalled a batch of half-pint 1% low fat chocolate milk.

It has the sell by date of January 27, 2021 with the batch code 4025. 

Hiland Dairy shared this photo Sunday after it announced a recall for ‘Hiland Dairy Half-Pint 1% Low Fat Chocolate Milk’ cartons produced at the Norman plant only. January 17, 2021. (KFOR)

“Look for those lot numbers, be very cautious about checking your product and making sure it’s not on the recall list,” Scott Schaeffer, director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information, said. 

St. Anthony hospital released the following statement:

“At SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital, the safety of our patients is a top priority. Over the past weekend when we learned of the unexpected illness of a number of patients on three patient care units, we immediately began an investigation into the cause. We isolated the potential cause of the illness to chocolate milk consumed by these patients. As a result, immediate actions were taken to remove all milk throughout the facility. The supplier of the milk, Hiland Diary, was notified, and we also engaged the Oklahoma State Department of Health who conducted a thorough investigation. As a result, Hiland Diary issued a product recall yesterday.

Fifty patients on three patient care units, all minors, consumed contaminated milk. After a medical evaluation of each patient and based on the severity of their symptoms, twenty-eight were transferred to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital to be evaluated and monitored by a pediatric gastroenterology specialist.

Our thoughts are with the children and their parents impacted by this unfortunate event, and we are communicating all updates to the patients’ parents as we have more information. We encourage school administrators and other businesses who may have received the impacted Hiland Dairy product to follow the recommendations issued in the recall by Hiland Dairy, and for those who believe they may have consumed the contaminated product to seek immediate medical attention.”

OU Health released this statement:

“Oklahoma Children’s Hospital has treated patients who have ingested a recalled milk. Several patients have been discharged and we are awaiting test results for others to determine discharge or the appropriate treatment plan.”

They add:

OU Health works closely with our vendors and partners on product safety.  We immediately pull products subject to safety recalls and no longer have any of the recalled milk.”  

Hiland says the sanitizer involved is Synergex, used cleaning surfaces and dairy processing equipment.

Experts say several possible symptoms can happen if you drink sanitizer, but it’s possible to not feel anything if it was a trace amount.

“We’re going to be looking at potentially some upset stomachs, irritation of the mouth or throat, and even possibly some burns,” Schaeffer said.

“Usually if you have any kind of caustic ingestion, usually symptoms develop within 24-48 hours,” Adnan Altaf, chief of pediatric gastroenterology at OU Children’s, said. 

Schaeffer also says because cleaner is usually diluted, it isn’t as severe as drinking straight cleaner. 

The harm depends on how much was ingested, but because the taste is bad, people may also just spit it out before ingesting it.

“Usually if you swallow anything caustic, we do not recommend you induce vomiting,” Altaf said. 

Deer Creek parent Jonathan Gold says he drank the milk but didn’t feel anything. He says he’s glad he drank it instead of his kids.

“I might’ve just been lucky and had one of those iron stomachs,” he said. 

If you think you or your child ingested the contaminated milk and have symptoms, you can call Poison Control at 800-222-1222. They can help determine the level of care needed. 

Oklahoma City Public Schools released the following statement:

“Yesterday, Hiland Dairy announced a recall of the one-half pint 1% low fat chocolate milk that was produced at its Norman, Oklahoma facility. Some of the products may contain food-grade sanitizers, which could cause illness if consumed. 

In an abundance of caution, we are asking families who picked up meals at the end of last week at any of our drive-thru locations to please dispose of any milk product. 

OKCPS School Nutrition Service is completing an audit of our Hiland Dairy products at all schools to determine if we received any of the recalled milk. OKCPS will properly discard any recalled products to ensure it’s not served in cafeterias or at our drive-thru locations. 

If you have concerns after consuming this product, please contact your medical provider. Additionally, if you have questions, you may contact Hiland Dairy here https://www.hilanddairy.com/contact-us.”

Edmond and Deer Creek school districts have also warned parents the milk may have been sent home with students. 

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