Overly-spicy rice thought to be behind sick Routt students

By Jim McCabe on December 4 at 1:29pm

Twenty-five students at Routt Catholic High School apparently got sick from cafeteria food during lunch yesterday.

Officials from the Morgan County Health Department, who were at the school to perform flu vaccinations, checked out the affected students who apparently had broken out in rashes.

Linda Day is the food manager at the health department. What she saw was that students were very flush, their skin was red, itching and burning right after having eaten lunch.

“We don’t think the kitchen did anything wrong, but we were looking at the Mexican rice that they served for the day, and we’re kind of wondering if it had too many spices in it and they actually had an allergic reaction maybe to the spice that was in this rice,” Day says.

“They were not having any difficulty breathing. Some of them kind of got sick to their stomach, some of them had some chills, a few of them had headaches, that type of thing.”

Routt principal Gale Thoroman says none of the students required hospital treatment, but three kids were sent home after continuing not to feel well after the incident.

Day says the health department is working with the state.

“I sent them all the code numbers off of the box and the bags, and we do have some of the rice as a sample, so if the labs decide they want to try to sample that rice, then we have that to send to them,” she says.

“I have the individual bags that the rice came out of, so I can forward that to the state, but at this point, we just don’t know.”

Twenty-four high schoolers and one student from Our Saviour Grade School were affected.