Students were mistakenly served Pine-Sol instead of apple juice, according to a report released by the Hawaii Department of Health.
It happened Tuesday at Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool in Honolulu.
In the report, the school’s director said morning snacks were being prepared by a classroom assistant in the kitchen. The snacks consisted of dry crackers and juice.
The assistant saw the yellow/brown-colored liquid container on a clean-up cart in the kitchen, and returned to the classroom with the crackers and container with liquid. The assistant poured the liquid into cups as the classroom teacher tended to students. The classroom teacher realized it was not apple juice based on its smell, and stopped the students from drinking it.
According to Emergency Medical Services, paramedics evaluated three students, ages 4 and 5, who drank a small amount. The children were okay, and did not require treatment, officials said.
The inspection report says the liquid was in its original Pine-Sol container and properly labeled. The cart has no food items on or in it. The cleaning supplies are stored below the kitchen sink and in the janitors room. All the food items in the kitchen are properly stored and labeled in the kitchen cabinets.
We’re told the assistant no longer works at the school.
Parents are still in disbelief. While the two products are similar in color, they smell distinctly different.
“I think it’s extremely terrifying. It’s very, very scary, but it’s hard for me or any of the people that I’ve spoken to to understand how it happened in the first place,” said parent Turina Lovelin.
Parents say the school sent an email out to let them know what happened, and a meeting was also held Thursday night to answer their questions.
While it’s still not clear how the mistake was made, some parents say the school has taken all the necessary precautions.
“I personally believe that this could have happened anywhere, that an individual who was compromised in some way they could have made this error in any place,” said Lovelin.
Like other places that serve food, the school cafeteria is inspected and given a green placard if it passes. DOH says inspectors were sent after the incident and saw that cleaning materials were separated from food items, so the school passed inspection.