India, Mumbai: Yesterday, officials said, 97 school childrens were hospitalised with suspected food poisoning on after eating a free midday meal at a government run school near Mumbai and 13 were in a critical condition. Most of the children at the rural primary school fell ill after the lunch of rice and pulses.
Shrikrishna Kokate, deputy police chief of Palghar district in the western state of Maharashtra, said, “Ninety-seven have been admitted to hospital, a few of them are critical”. Hospital officials said 247 students were initially brought for treatment late afternoon after they complained of nausea and started vomiting.
Ashok Khandagle, a doctor attending the sick children said, “Thirteen are critical but out of danger. More than 140 were discharged after medical screening. The rest are undergoing treatment”. He said the symptoms point towards food poisoning, adding samples have been sent for tests to a laboratory in Mumbai. The ill students are aged between six and 14.
Police said they also have sent teams to the school to take samples of food — a mixture of rice and pulses — served to the children. More than 250 students are enrolled at the Zilla Parishad primary school in Kasa village in Palghar, district about 120 kilometres from the financial capital Mumbai. Most of the inhabitants of the village are rural tribes people. The government’s midday meal programme is the world’s largest, feeding 120 million children daily in more than a million schools, for many of whom it is their only substantial daily meal.