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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State approves Darigold response to milk containers filled with cleaning agent

FILE – A Darigold worker adds lids to the the jug filler line at the Darigold plant in 1997. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The State of Washington believes there is no sense in crying over spilled milk, even if that chocolate milk instead turned out to be commercial-grade sanitizer and water.

The Department of Agriculture has accepted the explanations by Darigold about how several pint-sized containers of chocolate milk were filled with a diluted solution of the sanitizer Vortexx and water.

The vinegar-like smelling solution was discovered last Tuesday by a student at Shadle Park High School and it prompted the company to pull as many of the “best by” Feb. 6 containers that it could find.

The company announced that it was working with the Washington Department of Agriculture and department spokesman Hector Castro confirmed that Darigold had fulfilled its obligations.

Companies like Darigold are required by state and federal regulations to use a sanitizer to clean out distribution lines between runs, Castro said. Somehow, that cleaning solution was sent into cartons instead of chocolate milk.

“We have completed our review,” Castro said. “They have taken some measures to adjust their processes and have added a visual inspection.”

Castro said department staffers will visit the plant soon to review the changes.

“We will have them walk the process with us to show us step-by-step what they are doing differently to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” Castro said.

Darigold spokeswoman Sarah Taydas said Friday that the company believed it has recovered 87 percent of the run of chocolate milk containers that had a “best by” date of Feb. 6.

Taydas said as few as 1,000 cartons contained the diluted Vortexx and water and she again apologized for any alarm it caused at the school.