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Suspicious powder found in mail reported to be powdered eggs

Powdered eggs, first mistaken for a suspicious powder, prompted numerous emergency response agencies to the University’s Print & Mail Services facility in the Forrestal Campus on Tuesday.

The suspicious substance was reported at 10:20 a.m. Numerous emergency response agencies responded to the report, and 20 people were evacuated, according to a statement provided by the Plainsboro Police Department.

Four employees that were in contact with the suspicious packaged were quarantined, although none of them developed any signs of illness, police said in the statement.

After authorities determined that the substance was non-hazardous, normal operations resumed around 11:40 a.m., according to University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua. No injuries were reported.

The PPD’s statement said the substance was a white “food supplement powder” and was “non-toxic.” The release also said that no injuries were reported, although four employees who may have had contact with the substance were monitored by Emergency Medical Services personnel.

“The package, an approximate 10″ x 12″ cardboard box … was addressed to a Princeton University student,” the statement read, adding that Department of Public Safety officers were already on the scene when the PPD officers arrived. The statement also said the powder was coming out of the box’s seams.

Lt. George Cier, the PPD’s information officer, could not be reached for comment.

The agencies that responded to the report were the Plainsboro Police and Fire Departments, the Middlesex County Hazardous Materials Unit, DPS, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Fire Department and staff from the University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Mbugua said.

He explained that Plainsboro police was in charge of the investigation, and DPS only provided assistance. However, a representative at the Hazmat Unit said DPS was actually in charge of the investigation.

Mbugua said he did not know which emergency agency first received the report.

University workers initially reported the package to DPS according to the The Star Ledger. DPS, Print & Mail Services and the PPPL representatives deferred comment to Mbugua.

All employees returned to work after the incident, according to the Plainsboro police statement.

In 2001, letters sent from a mailbox at 10 Nassau St. that contained traces of anthrax bacteria in powder form were sent to several high-profile figures across the country. The attacks led to five deaths and 17 injuries and received worldwide media attention.

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