As if getting food right now weren’t stressful enough! Two children were hospitalized after eating candy they received from a food bank in Utah. For many low-income families, food insecurity was already a major issue. But, with the added strains the novel coronavirus outbreak is putting on people, it’s compounded the problem. Many are relying on food banks, pantries, and charities to feed their families.
In Utah, two families received food from a local food bank and what they thought would be a much-needed care package actually contained candy infused with Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives people the sensation of feeling “high.” Those families ended up having to rush their kids to the hospital.
The Roy City Police Department explained that 63 bags of food containing the psychoactive candy were distributed.
Families who needed help went to Utah food bank located at a baptist church for food. In a press release from the Roy City Police Department, the police described what occurred:
“The Utah Food Bank distribution point at Roy Baptist Church at 2025 West 5700 South distributed 63 bags of food to 63 families that we have confirmed contained ‘Medicated Nerds’ rope candy infused with THC. The packages do contain labels indicating the presence of THC as well as the dosages.”
So far, five children have consumed the candy. Two of them had symptoms severe enough that they needed medical treatment at a hospital.
At least 2 children are hospitalized after eating THC candy from a food bank in Utah. https://t.co/1Mk0BcE2hb— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 5, 2020
“We know [an] 11-year-old girl is being treated at a local hospital after consuming this candy,” the police department stated. NBC News later reported that another child, a five-year-old was also hospitalized.
“Right now, we do not believe nor do we have any evidence to support that the donation was intentional. We have discussed this issue with our local food bank and it appears to be an accident,” police Sgt. Matthew Gwynn said in a statement.
Although the experience was probably frightening, the two children are home from the hospital.
The food bank is now working to track down how this happened. Bott said they are using information from their inventory system to reach out to carriers in order to find specifically where the THC-infused candy came from.https://t.co/HNNQfrnA8B— KMVT News (@KMVTNews) April 5, 2020
KMVT reported that the two children had been discharged from the hospital and are fine. Which is great news! Poor kids!
“I think it goes without saying that everyone involved in this is mortified,” Ginette Bott said. Bott runs the Utah Food Bank who provided food to the Roy Baptist Church.
“Kids are our top priority we do everything to help,” Bott said. “We certainly would never do anything to hurt.”
To keep ‘accidents’ like the candy from happening again, the foodbank is changing the way it receives donations.
Although the candy’s packaging is clearly labeled and says that each “rope” contains 400mg of THC, it would be easy to miss because the packaging looks so similar to the candy wrappers we see in grocery stores.
The Utah Food Bank released a statement outlining the steps they’re taking to keep this from happening again:
“As a result of this discovery, Utah Food Bank is changing our policies and procedures regarding the handling of these bulk donations to ensure that this does not happen again. In addition, through our partnership with Feeding America, over 200 network food banks across the country have been notified that such a product exists, and what to look for, so that this does not happen anywhere else in the country.”
While the food bank changes its policies, police continue to follow up with any families who could have potentially received the candy.
The Roy City Police Department is “actively reaching out” to families who may have received the THC-laced candy and has left information with staff at the Roy Baptist Church where the bags of food originated.
The police urge that: If you or anyone you know received a bag of food from the Roy Baptist Church that may have contained Nerds Medicated Rope candy, to call the police department immediately at (801) 629-8221.