OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A lawsuit against Hiland Dairy was filed in federal court Friday on behalf of a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly one of the children who drank contaminated chocolate milk last week.
Earlier this week, Hiland Dairy recalled a batch of 1 percent fat chocolate milk half-pints.
KFOR learned at least 50 children were being treated at metro hospitals for injuries sustained after drinking milk that was contaminated with sanitizer.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Andy Campbell, associate attorney with Edmond-based law firm Maple, Nix & Diesselhorst.
Campbell represents 16-year-old Parker and her family.
Last Friday, he said she drank a half-pint of the milk with her lunch at St. Anthony Hospital, where she was being treated for issues related to autism.
Doctors believe the milk left her with serious injuries.
“She has since formed some blisters in her mouth, her throat is swollen and burned, and doctors are concerned that she’s developing some ulcers in her stomach,” Campbell said.
The milk was contaminated with a chemical called Synergex, a food-grade sanitizer used to clean the dairy processing equipment.
“One of the doctors who treated my client has equated that Synergex to something similar to a Drano,” Campbell said. “So essentially my client consumed Drano in her chocolate milk.”
Now Parker is stuck in the hospital, being treated for these injuries, and she may need a feeding tube. What the long-term effects will be are unknown.
Campbell said he believes children were the most at-risk and the most affected by the bad milk.
“Especially younger children or children who may have developmental issues, may not realize the unique or different taste,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court Friday. What Parker’s attorneys are seeking include payment for her medical bills, damages for the trauma she and her family experienced and assurances that steps were taken to prevent anything like this from happening again.
“Number one, transparency,” Campbell said. “We want to know what happened and why it happened.”
KFOR contacted Hiland Dairy late Friday after learning about the lawsuit. The company has not yet returned requests for comment.