The Albany County School District has released a written statement following the hospitalization of 12-15 children from Linford Elementary School, Tuesday.

According to the release, ACSD 1 Administration was notified that, "as part of the Fresh Fruit and Produce Program operated by Sodexo Foodservice Company, a small portion-size sample of Yuca (potato variety) or Yucca (plant variety) was served to some students.  Concern was raised that this root could be harmful if not properly prepared.  Sodexo has been unable to confirm which product was delivered to our schools."

The release went on to point out that both yucca and yuca need to be cooked to be eaten safely and that a small number of students did eat the plant and it was believed to have been uncooked.

Sodexo, a company that describes itself as "a provider of integrated food and facilities management services" could not be reached for comment.

Dee Bott, Vice President of Marketing and Development at Ivinson Memorial Hospital says they received a call Tuesday morning from Linford school that students were being sent to the hospital for observation after some students had ingested the root.

"Due to the small amount it's unlikely that the children will become ill," Bott said.  "Twelve to fifteen of the kids were brought to Ivinson by parents, held for observation, have been released and they're okay."

Both Bott and the official release from Albany County school district said that symptoms from the ingestion of the root include stomachache, cramping, nausea, or diarrhea.  Children who consumed the root and who are exhibiting these symptoms should be taken to the IMH Emergency Room for observation.  The school district has offered to pay for any related medical expenses.

Mike Hamel Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Quality Learning at ACSD 1 says that as many as 312 students were affected. "Certainly there will be some conversations to try to track down how the product was delivered to us in an uncooked state."