120 Egyptian Schoolchildren Taken to Hospital in Mass Food Poisoning

Second such incident this month prompts food safety questions about government food programs in Egypt's rural areas.

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School children attend the first day of classes at the Talaat Harb government primary school, Egypt, Sept. 28, 2015.
School children attend the first day of classes at the Talaat Harb government primary school, Egypt, Sept. 28, 2015.Credit: AP Photo/Mohamed Elraai

Some 120 schoolchildren in an Egyptian province had to be taken to hospital this week after showing symptoms of food poisoning, a health official said Wednesday.

The Tuesday incident was the second such case of its kind in the country this month.

The children were discharged from the hospital in the Nile Delta province of Menufia after treatment, Hana Sorour, an undersecretary of the Health Ministry.

"All the children are now in good condition," she added on an official Facebook page.

The children suffered colic, vomiting and a slight fever after they had eaten biscuits provided for free by the government, Egyptian media reported.

Samples from the suspected biscuits are being examined.

In recent months, there have been several outbreaks of mass poisoning in state-run schools. They have been blamed on free meals.

Last week, more than 3,000 schoolchildren in the southern Egyptian province of Sohag were treated for food poisoning after they ate school lunches including processed cheese, dried sweets and bread.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi ordered an investigation into the incident.

No findings have been made public yet.

Public schools in rural areas in Egypt provide free dried meals for pupils with the aim of keeping them healthy. Critics claim these meals sometimes go bad because of improper storage.

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