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Contaminated school lunch triggers food allergy in Baker student, mom says

"Had she gotten any more of the oil it would have been complete anaphylaxis and she would have been hospitalized," said Amber Lovejoy, mother of Baker student Freyja

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A seventh grader at Baker Middle School was rushed home after having a severe allergic reaction to her cafeteria lunch.

"She started eating her French fries and realized that they tasted a bit fishy," said Amber Lovejoy, mother of Baker Middle School student Freyja.

Lovejoy said Freyja immediately started showing symptoms of an allergic reaction as a result of the fish oil her food was cooked in. 

"Her throat was starting to itch. Her face was starting to swell. I was there within a minute and a half of the phone call," she said. 

Freyja's recovery took five days and two doctor's visits following the cross-contamination. Amber was a food service specialist in the army and said that the school told her that all their workers are trained to avoid such problems. 

Amber adds that the incident was a close call.

"Had she gotten any more of the oil it would have been complete anaphylaxis and she would have been hospitalized," she said. 

3NEWS spoke with local pediatrician, Dr. Jessica Acevedo-Gracia, who said that fish oil allergies are not something she has seen a lot of.

"Considering that we have a lot of children in this town and a lot of schools it's not something I see all that often," she said. 

3NEWS reached out to CCISD and was given this statement that reads:

While health privacy laws prevent school districts from speaking about specific situations, we want to reassure the community that our Food Services staff is highly trained in state and federal guidelines. Cafeteria employees have food handler permits, and cafeteria managers have permits for their supervisory role as well. We are proud of the many kitchens in our large district that have earned perfect scores on their inspections. Additionally, CCISD’s Office of Food Services works closely with our local health department to ensure we remain informed of any food handling updates and best practices. The Office of Food Services also collaborates with CCISD’s Office of Student Health Services to establish a plan for students with a documented history of food allergies.

CCISD’s cafeteria staff serves nearly 700,000 meals per month, and takes pride in the important role they play in our community. We encourage families who need support in managing students’ food allergies to partner with their child’s school.

Thank you

Amber said that Freyja will carry an EpiPen from now on to prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future.

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