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40 Students in India Sickened By Meal at School

  • Reuters

FILE - A man prepares food inside a community kitchen at a Hindu temple on the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata, India, May 5, 2016. Forty students were hospitalized after consuming lunch in India's northwestern Rajasthan state Friday.

FILE - A man prepares food inside a community kitchen at a Hindu temple on the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata, India, May 5, 2016. Forty students were hospitalized after consuming lunch in India's northwestern Rajasthan state Friday.

Forty students were hospitalized after consuming midday meal at a secondary school in Banswara district of India's northwestern Rajasthan state on Friday.

The children had pulses and chapatis for lunch which were prepared in the school. Shortly after having the food, the children complained of uneasiness and started vomiting.

Students were rushed to a community hospital, but when their condition did not improve, they were transferred to District Hospital. Extra beds had to be arranged to accommodate all the students in the children's ward.

Additional District Collector of Banswara, Narendra Kothari, said that all the children were out of danger.

"We have been told that children had pulses and chapatis for lunch. Children also played for a while after having the food, but then they started vomiting. The children were rushed to the hospital and all of them are out of danger," said Kothari.

Samples being tested

Food samples will be sent for testing to find out the cause of poisoning.

India's midday meal scheme aims to tackle malnutrition and encourage around 120 million poor children to attend school. For millions of poor families, the lunch is the only full meal their children eat in a day.

It has been widely lauded as one of the most successful welfare measures in India, but has repeatedly drawn widespread complaints over food safety.

Many states have faced criticism over the quality of food in the scheme and the way it is provided.

Hygiene problems are exacerbated by a lack of fresh water and basic sanitation in some rural areas.

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