Marva Maid Dairy is under the microscope after at least a dozen Henrico County Public Schools students got sick from what the Newport News-based company says was most likely milk that spoiled before its expiration date.
“It was on Wednesday afternoon that we had four kids at an elementary school who complained of illnesses, had nausea-like symptoms,” said Andy Jenks, HCPS director of communications and public relations. “It became apparent shortly after that that there was a funny smell and taste to the milk.”
After the four initial complaints, 10 more were made to the Henrico County Health Department. The agency began investigating immediately.
“I know that we haven’t identified any storage issues at the Henrico County Public Schools” said Health Director Susan Fischer Davis.
Marva Maid Dairy’s internal investigation, however, did turn up something. The company tested the milk from that date of production in its lab and found it had spoiled. A spokesperson for the company also said a valve issue at a Norfolk processing plant had taken place the day the milk in question was put into cartons, and that this could increase bacteria growth in the product. Marva Maid Dairy didn’t feel it was a big enough issue to recall the milk.
In a written statement, Marva Maid Dary said: “A number of factors can contribute to milk spoiling before its expiration date. The most common cause is lack of proper refrigeration, which puts added stress on milk and makes it more perishable.”
Henrico County Public Schools says everything on their end was done properly.
“We are confident that the milk was not disseminated past its expiration date, nor do we feel as though it was stored improperly,” Jenks said.
As a precaution, HCPS served juice and water as alternatives to milk on Friday.
If you have Marva Maid Dairy milk with a May 30 expiration date, the company will take it back. You can give them a call at 1-800-768-6243. If you believe your child got sick from the milk, call the Henrico County Health Department; the results of the department’s investigation should be available Monday or Tuesday.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond