India: Free School Meals Gone (Horribly) Wrong

Free Meals Gone Wrong

Free school meals in India! The only catch? Your children might die.

Twenty-two schoolchildren are dead and dozens more fell sick after eating tainted food as part of a free lunch program in India’s eastern state of Bihar.

The tainted lunches were part of India’s Mid-Day Meal Program, which provides free food to boost school attendance and promote healthy eating. The Mid-Day Meal program is known to suffer from a bit of a hygiene problem – it is India after all. Just look at their hospital above – yikes! But the program went horribly awry when twenty-eight suck primary school kids were taken to the hospital on Tuesday after ingesting the rice and soybean lunch. So much for boosting school attendance.

The doctors who provided care for the children said the smell coming off the children’s bodies indicated the food contained organo-phosphorus, a poisonous substance. Yum.

“When the children were clinically examined, we saw that there was severe congestion in the chest, and their pupils were dilated. These are symptoms of organo-phosphorus poisoning,” a doctor at the Chhapra district hospital explained.

“Organo-phosphorus is a compound also used as a pesticide for crops. It is very dangerous. Even a small quantity of it would prove fatal for small children. Looking at the critical condition in which they were brought to the hospital, it seems like there were large quantities of poison in the food that they consumed.”

The exact source responsible for the poisoning has yet to be determined but investigators are looking into it. In the meantime, families of the dead children have been offered 200,000 rupees ($3,370) in compensation.

Apparently that wasn’t enough though because violent protests broke out over the incident. Angry parents joined the hundred of villagers protesting against the school, setting at least four police vehicles on fire. That’s the spirit!

Via: BBC News

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