More than 350 students were hospitalised as they complained of nausea and stomach ache after eating midday meals at the Government Urdu Model Higher Primary School at DJ Halli here on Friday.
Some students claimed to have found a lizard in the rice served to them as part of the midday meal.Around 300 students are from the girls’ school, while the others were from the boys’ school located on the same premises.
The students were rushed to Dr B R Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital.
Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr V Krishna Rao said that at least 20 students vomited in the hospital. Around 360 students were treated and sent home.
“There is no need to worry as the children are doing fine. It may have been a slight infection for a few students. For others it was a psychological effect. Nine students are still in the hospital and under observation,” the medical superintendent added.
The vomit samples have been sent for tests. The results are expected in the next 48 hours, Dr Rao said.
Headmistress Zareena Khanam said, “I tasted the food before it was served and there was no problem.”
She said it all started at 12:30 pm when the midday meal was served. Some students found a lizard in the rice. They immediately brought it to notice of the office which informed the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC).
“Initially, two girls from Class I complained of nausea and after a while some boys from the neighbouring boys’ school too started to complain. Several students fell sick and we started to send them to the hospital. We sent around 300 children who complained of stomach pain to Dr B R Ambedkar Hospital,” Zareena added.
Of the total 935 students, 850 were present in the school on Friday. Senior Assistant Director, Midday Meal Scheme (MMS), Department of Public Instruction, Gangadhara N said there was a lizard in the rice which led to panic among the children.
“As there were fears that the food was poisoned, the children were sent to various hospitals, including Dr B R Ambedkar Hospital, Bowring and Lady Curzon, and Shifa Hospital. Everything is under control and there is no need to fear or worry,” he added.
Gangadhara said the food samples have been collected by health department officials and the police, and has been sent for analysis.
ISKCON’s Akshaya Patra Foundation, which prepares the midday meal, said the meal was distributed to 15 other schools and they had not received any complaints.
General Manager (Operations) Vinay Kumar said: “As of now we are trying to gather information. A food sample will be sent for testing. We serve as many as 1,000 schools. Over 2 lakh children in Bangalore eat midday meals served by us. There are many kitchens preparing the food separately for different schools.”