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23 children fall ill after Christmas lunch

Thursday, December 12 2013

The Education Ministry is investigating an incident in which 23 students of Santa Flora Anglican Primary School fell ill after eating a meal provided by a well-wisher for a Christmas treat at the school yesterday.

School sources say shortly after the meal was consumed at lunch time yesterday, students complained of feeling unwell and began vomiting.

The students were rushed to the Siparia Health Facility where up to 6 pm most of them had been treated for suspected food poisoning and were discharged. A source at the facility said only six students were waiting to be attended to. The schoolís principal and some members of staff accompanied the students to the health facility.

A school source told Newsday a former student who was retiring from his job decided to treat the students as an act of goodwill for Christmas and had paid a caterer to prepare the meal for the students.

Contacted on the incident, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh yesterday said the meal was not prepared by the National School Feeding Programme but by a private individual. He said school supervisors would investigate the matter today. Gopeesingh said he would also call on staff of the Dietary Unit of the School Feeding Programme to work with parents on an advisory basis on preparing food under hygenic conditions and proper storage.

He was quick to point out that many parents assist schools on a daily basis and he was in no way trying to curb their enthusiasm.

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