Dozens of students sickened by school lunches at 3 Katy ISD schools

KATY, Texas - School officials are investigating after dozens of students at three Katy ISD elementary schools were sickened by what they believe was recalled rice.

Katy ISD says so far the problem has been tracked back to Uncle Ben's Mexican Infused Rice that was served in the cafeterias at Wolman, Morton Ranch and Kilpatrick elementary schools.

The district issued a statement Thursday which read:
"Today various students at Wolman, Morton Ranch, and Kilpatrick elementary schools experienced an allergic reaction to food served during the lunch period.  Symptoms included a skin rash with itching and shortness of breath.  None of the students required outside medical attention.  However, KISD officials continue to monitor the students and are investigating the source of this food reaction."

Katy ISD estimates about 50 students overall experienced these symptoms.

Kilpatrick Elementary sent a letter home to parents saying that five students who became ill were sent home after their parents were contacted. The school said the other students did not have serious symptoms and were not released.

The district said Thursday evening in a statement that Uncle Ben's manufacturer issued a voluntary recall due to a product within the rice.

"(The) Nutrition and Food Services Department was not directly informed of the recall by the Uncle Ben's Rice manufacturer. The Department learned about the January 2014 recall issued by the company through an internet search. We are currently investigating as to why the District was not informed of the recall by the Uncle Ben's manufacturer."

A Katy ISD spokesperson said as a policy they rely on their food distributors to notify them of all food recalls.

Local 2 tracked down Reinhart Foodservice, which distributed the rice to the school district. Reinhart records showed that the company distributed a notice about the recall to all of their customers.

School district officials said they were not aware of any notice being sent to them about the recall. The district said they are now investigating to see what happened and who is at fault.

It's a scary situation for parents who said they rely on the school to feed their children healthy meals.

"It's alarming. You don't want your children being sick from food served in the school," said parent Chika Banor.

"Hopefully I think they'll investigate that and make sure that doesn't happen anymore. Thank God my kids are fine," said parent Emmanuel Rex.

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