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Foodborne illness ruled out after dozens of students became ill at Starmount Middle School

School officials said on Nov. 8, about 45 sixth-grade students became ill at the school complaining of various symptoms including nausea and headache.

YADKIN COUNTY, N.C. — Yadkin County officials completed an investigation into a possible foodborne illness at Starmount Middle School in early November.

School officials said on Nov. 8, about 45 sixth-grade students became ill at the school complaining of various symptoms including nausea and headache. They were evaluated by emergency services and firefighters along with school nurses. Many of the students became better later that day.

The investigation included a chicken product that was the sole difference in food choices between sixth-grade students and other grades. The product was being sampled or piloted by the sixth grade that day. It was also previously piloted by two other grades the week before. They conducted lab testing of food samples and did a food intake recall survey of students. They tested for Staphylococcal enterotoxin and the results were negative.

RELATED: Dozens of students become ill at Starmount Middle School

They said “based on the information and data collected, the investigation team is unable to determine a known cause of the illness experienced by a portion of the 6th grade class of Starmount Middle School. The findings suggest that this is unlikely to be a food-related incident.”

Health investigators said the chicken was precooked upon arrival and therefore could not have been served raw or undercooked. They also said the trays of samples were monitored by cafeteria staff during the duration of the meal period.