2 Kids Are Hospitalized After Eating Candy Laced With THC from Food Bank

Nerds Rope Candy
NBC News/Twitter

For millions of Americans right now, simply feeding their families has become a daily challenge. The closure of businesses, loss of jobs, and increased risks of grocery shopping have all made everyday living stressful and even panic-inducing. But for families who were already low-income or food-insecure, the current health crisis has been especially tough -- particularly for those who rely on local food banks. Yet it's safe to say that two families in Utah never could have expected what happened last week, after their children fell ill from candy distributed by the Utah Food Bank.

  • According to the Roy City Police Department, 63 bags of food were distributed to 63 families last week by First Baptist Church of Roy.

    Families in need collected them at a distribution point set up at the church before taking them back to their homes. But unbeknownst to the parents, the bags didn't just contain canned goods and other nonperishables -- they also contained packages of "Medicated Nerds Rope" candy, which are infused with high dosages of THC.

  • Advertisement
  • The Roy City Police Department issued a warning about the incident in a Facebook post Saturday, and shared several other details.

    "We think 3-4 packages of nerd candy were placed in each bag of food," the post explained. "Every family that picked up a bag received only one bag. Once it was determined that the candy was inadvertently placed in the bags that were distributed, it was removed from the bags that had not yet been delivered."

  • A total of five children are believed to have consumed the candy, though only two had symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized.

    "We know a 11-year-old girl is being treated at a local hospital after consuming this candy," the police department's statement read. However, NBC News later reported that a 5-year-old was also hospitalized after eating it. Both were reportedly taken to a hospital on the same night, though according to KMVT, they have since been released and are expected to make a full recovery.

    "Right now, we do not believe nor do we have any evidence to support that the donation was intentional. We have discussed this issue with our local food bank and it appears to be an accident," police Sgt. Matthew Gwynn noted in a statement.

  • Ginette Bott, president and CEO of Utah Food Bank, has since apologized "to any families who may have received this product."

    “We are absolutely horrified that this product went out to any of our partner agencies, and can easily see how volunteers would not have known what to look for,” Bott told KSL.

    In truth, it is easy to see how the packages might be confused for normal candy. Though the packaging is labeled to show that each candy rope contains 400 mg of THC, it's easy to overlook -- particularly if a child grabbed it before their parents could get a look.

  • Since discovering the error, the Utah Food Bank has changed its donation process to ensure a mistake like this never happens again.

    In the meantime, the Roy City Police Department says it is "actively reaching out" to families who left contact information with staff at the church when they picked up their bag of food, to make sure the candy doesn't get into the hands of other children.

    If you or anyone you know received a bag of food from the Roy Baptist Church that may have contained Nerds Medicated Rope candy, call the police department immediately at (801) 629-8221, police officials urged.