Dead lizard in midday meal, 350 Bangalore school kids hospitalised
BANGALORE: Around 350 children of a government-run
Urdu Primary School here were hospitalised on Friday for suspected food
poisoning after consuming government-provided midday meal, evoking memories of
23 children who died last year in Bihar after eating food from the same welfare
A dead lizard was found in one of the seven food containers
provided under the midday meal scheme at the school that led to a panic
situation as food had already been served to several children.
“We stopped the children from eating and rushed them
to a hospital,” said Syeda Tabassum, a school teacher who was part of the group
that served food to the children on Friday.
The children with complaints of head ache, stomach
ache and vomiting were taken to Dr Ambedkar Medical College Hospital with
anxious parents swarming the premises, making it tough for police to control
Speaking to reporters, Health Minister UT Khader, who
visited the hospital, said, “Around 350 students have fallen ill and have been
admitted to Ambedkar Hospital. Most of them have returned home after getting
The children were brought to the hospital at around
3.30 pm with complaints of vomiting sensation, Anjaneya, Manager, Ananda Social
and Educational Trust which runs the hospital, said. He said doctors were told
that a lizard was found in the food served to the children.
“All the 350 children who were brought for treatment
have been discharged,” DJ Halli Police said late in the evening. It was not
immediately clear whether the contamination originated at the school or where
the food was prepared. Police officials were not immediately available for a
The Akshaya Patra Foundation, which supplies food to
schools, in a statement said the food cooked by Akshaya Patra is into mass
cooking and the same batch has been distributed to neighbouring schools as
“No complaints have been registered. The food samples
are sent to laboratory for the mandatory check-ups.” It said Akshaya Patra
kitchens are ISO 22000 certified and follows a strict hygiene adherence while
“All the kitchens of Akshaya Patra follow a standard
process for preparing the mid-day meals. This process is charted out to ensure
hygiene and quality of the cooked meal and also to adhere to the food safety
The Bangalore school has been receiving meals under
the scheme for the past 10 years, but had never faced a similar issue, Tabassum
The mid-day meal scheme, which gives more than 100
million school pupils a free lunch, is the largest such programme in the world.
It has been widely lauded as one of the most successful welfare measures in
But last year, 23 children died after being poisoned
by a school meal provided under the scheme, sparking violent protests in Bihar.
Police said cooking oil used for the meals had been stored in a used pesticide
For millions of poor families, the lunch is the only
full meal their children eat in a day. That encourages them to send them to
school and not keep them home to help with chores.