Students at a Pennsylvania school reportedly consumed pet treats after an aide told them they were cookies or crackers.
It’s uncertain how many kids consumed the pet treats, but about 75 fourth grade students received them during recess last Thursday. No illnesses have been reported. The school, Upper Frederick elementary school in New Hanover, is located in a rural area about 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
“The treats may have been misrepresented as cookies or crackers,” Richard Faidley, the Boyerton Area School District superintendent, said in a statement. “Our research on the product indicates that the treat ingredients would not be harmful to people, with the exception for those individuals with specific food allergies.”
It’s also not entirely clear why the school aide handed the students pet treats to eat. “She made it look like it was a joke that they were dog treats and then she came around and said, ‘No they are cookies. They are fine,’” one student, Gabriel Moore, who ate three of the treats, told WFMZ. "I do not want to take anymore food from an aide," he said.
Moore’s father, David Moore, told the local television station: “Like what if it was rat poisoning or something. So it was kind of shocking to be honest with you.” The students’ parents were notified via email that their children had been given dog greats. "In my opinion, you put the lives of children at risk so you should be penalized pretty bad for that," David Moore said.
“I thought ‘wow, did I really eat dog treats? Something my own dog eats?’” one anonymous student told WISTV. The school aide in question has reportedly been placed on administrative leave.
Eating small bits of dog food probably won’t do you much harm — but it’s always a risk, seeing as pet food doesn’t go through the same rigid safety regulations that human food is required to experience. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure human food is safe for consumption, but pet food isn’t regulated in the same way. In addition, dog food may contain animal by-products, like animal bones, organs, or intestines. There have been reports in the past of contaminated or deadly dog treats that have sickened or killed animals. So the best solution is to keep pet food for animals, and human food to humans.