BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Bethlehem Area School District says maggots were found on some crates of its juice products sent to school cafeterias.
Superintendent Joseph Roy sent a letter to families Monday saying the shipments were received last week over several days.
According to the letter, maggots attached to the exterior of drink cartons were transferred to student trays in a few instances.
Roy says the issue involved four schools: East Hills Middle School, Freedom High, Freemansburg Elementary, and Thomas Jefferson Elementary.
But Roy says the juice products were disposed of at all 22 schools in the district after the issue was identified.
He says the products never made it to the serving line at Freemansburg and Thomas Jefferson elementary schools.
However, Roy tells WFMZ-TV some of the juice products did make it to the serving line at Freedom High and East Hills Middle schools.
He says the district is aware of two incidents where a single maggot was on a tray.
Roy stresses at no time did maggots or egg larvae actually get into food or drinks; he says they were found on the crates or pallets that hold the juice products which are in sealed containers.
The juice was delivered by Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms. He says BASD will no longer be using its products.
Roy says Aramark, the district's dining services manager, will be working with dining services staff at all 22 schools to conduct quality assurance inspections related to receipt of deliveries.
He tells WFMZ that district employees should have done a better job catching the issue before the bugs got into the cafeteria. He says the district will be checking shipments before they come into schools.
Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms released a statement Monday, saying, in part, "...our top priority is producing safe, nutritious, and high-quality products. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of the communities we serve."
The company apologized to the district.
"An investigation is underway to determine the source of the reported insect activity," the company said. "Based on the findings of our investigation, we will take appropriate corrective actions as necessary."
The company says that before making any future deliveries to the district, product crates and cartons will undergo additional inspections to verify crates are clean.
Read Superintendent Joseph Roy's letter to families:
Last week over several days, BASD Dining Services received shipments of milk and juice products that were discovered to have signs of larvae or maggot activity on some crates/pallets. In a few instances, maggots attached to the exterior of drink cartons were transferred to student trays. The beverage products were disposed of at all 22 schools after the identification of the issue. Deliveries from the dairy beverage vendor were also stopped. As of this time, the issue involved five schools (Freedom, Nitschmann, East Hills, Freemansburg, and Thomas Jefferson).
Aramark, the district's dining services manager, is working with dining services staff at all 22 schools to conduct quality assurance inspections related to receipt of deliveries. The City of Bethlehem Health Bureau was also consulted to review the steps that Aramark has taken to rectify the problem.
The health and safety of our students and staff must always be a priority. Food safety must be a given. We expect the same high standards from our food and beverage vendors.
Additional information will be released today from Aramark and from the dairy beverage vendor to keep our school community fully informed.
After sending the letter, Roy told WFMZ that only four schools were affected and the issue did not involve milk products.