May 21, 2022 – The Department of Education (DepEd) is investigating a 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).

SBFP, as one of the Department’s priority initiatives, 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.

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, majority of the affected learners experienced mild illnesses, including dehydration and nausea. They were treated in nearby hospitals and were discharged later on.

Nonetheless, DepEd has facilitated the provision of immediate medical assistance to affected individuals and will continue to monitor their health status.

DepEd, through the Bureau of Leaner Support Services-School Health Division and concerned field offices, is committed to continue assisting the learners and their families. We will likewise look into possible actions against those responsible entities or individuals.

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 occurrence of similar incidents.