There were chaotic scenes as primary school students and parents flooded hospital waiting areas after more than 100 children suffered from suspected food poisoning.
Officials in the central Chinese province of Henan are investigating a so-called ‘central kitchen project’ in Yucheng County, where four government-contracted catering companies are supplying school meals to 4,500 kids.
Distressing images from rural hospitals in the county show young children hooked up to intravenous drips while others are slumped on chairs in waiting areas with their parents.
More than 100 have been admitted to hospital since June 10 and county officials said most have been discharged, but some are still receiving treatment.
A spokesperson for the Yucheng Bureau of Education said multiple schools reported their pupils experiencing food poisoning symptoms such as vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea.
The municipal health commission said pupils were arriving from the towns of Duji, Huangzhong and Zhanji.
“All of our ambulances have been sent. All the victims are pupils. They’re coming from many towns,” a spokeswoman said.
Similar reports have emerged in the larger city of Shangqiu, which administers Yucheng County, though education officials said they did not believe their cases to be related.
According to Chinese state media, four catering companies in Yucheng are being investigated as possible sources of the suspected food poisoning scandal.
The firms have been contracted by the local government for all public primary and secondary schools since May 2018.
Investigations are ongoing.
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