Last month, forty-eight Phuket students became mysteriously ill and 16 were rushed to hospital. The test results are now back and the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) is saying that the illness was caused by bad milk that the students drank. The milk was given to the students by their school, which is being blamed for storing the milk incorrectly.
Extensive tests were carried out at Phuket’s new Medical Science Center in Thalang, with the results being released over the weekend. Dr Pongsawas Ratanasang, chief of the PPHO is blaming the Piboonsawaddee School, which all the students attended, for over-stacking cartons of UHT milk, which caused them to split and their contents to spoil.
“It was a storage problem. The cartons of spoiled milk had twisted and split. We found bacteria in there that must have come from outside. It wasn’t the sort of bacteria that would have been introduced during the manufacturing process,” Dr Pongsawas told the Phuket Gazette. “The milk hadn’t expired so it should have been alright. We tested some cartons from the same batch and they were fine. The milk company has high manufacturing and transport standards. Schools in Phuket City have to improve their storage and checking processes. ”
Dr Pongsawas Ratanasang also suggested that rats or other animals may have nibbled through the containers and contaminated them.