Over 200 pupils examined for food poisoning

By Drum Digital
12 November 2014

More than 200 school pupils in Sekhukhune, Limpopo, have been examined at two hospitals for possible food poisoning, the province's health department said on Wednesday.

 Some pupils were vomiting and others complained of abdominal pains, said spokesman Macks Lesufi in an e-mail.

He said at least 100 pupils were examined, treated, and released at Jane Furse hospital on Monday, while three of them were admitted.

Another 133 pupils were taken for examination to St Ritas hospital on the same day. Two of them were admitted.

Another eight pupils were taken to St Ritas on Tuesday, and one of them was admitted.

Lesufi said the three admitted to this hospital had since been discharged.

He could not confirm reports that shards of glass had been found in food eaten by the children.

Basic education department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier, The Star reported that 275 pupils at Makeke Primary School were taken to hospital on Monday after eating food that contained pieces of glass.

In October, the Sowetan reported that a confidential report by the Limpopo department of education revealed that beans meant for the national schools nutrition programme were found to have contained pieces of glass and stones.

The department launched an investigation after pupils in Sekhukhune were hospitalised in September after consuming food from the programme.

"The school reported the matter to the department of health, who took 238 pupils to Jane Furse and St Rita's hospitals for medical check-ups," the report said.

It found that every bag of beans opened in different schools contained small stones and pieces of glass.

The report advised schools not to cook the beans.

The multi-million rand feeding scheme funded by government distributes beans and fish to schools in impoverished areas.

Later in October, pupils at the Ntaki Primary School, also in Sekhukune, complained about a similar problem.

Pupils reportedly vomited blood after eating food at school and were taken to hospital.

On November 6, the basic education department announced that it had terminated the contracts of two companies supplying food to schools in Limpopo.

"Contracts have been terminated with immediate effect for the companies implicated in the food contamination that resulted in learners being hospitalised in Limpopo," Mhlanga said at the time.

-SAPA

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