Contaminated School Meals in Peru Claim Lives

In recent days, we've seen many schools in the US planning to increase nutrition as part of their meal programs in efforts to promote healthier diets among children. While these plans will hopefully lead to healthier eating through an increased consumption of organic foods free of pesticides, other schools are facing trouble keeping those same pesticides away from meals. Tragedy has stricken Peru, as reports of deaths have surfaced after contaminated lunches were served to 100 children.

The Food Assistance Program, a government nutrition initiative, providing food to schools with low income families is responsible for poisoning children with mishandled food. The contaminated food was responsible for killing 3 children and making 89 children and 5 adults sick.  The three children died immediately after lunch and the rest of the children were rushed to the hospital after complaining of stomach cramps and vomiting.

The children ate fish and rice which, officials claim, was accidently prepared in a bucket used for rat poison.  One of the mothers of the deceased reported "I think it was poison because all the kids are purple, from all parts of the school,"

The occurrence took place in a village called Redondo, North of Lima. The incidence is still under investigation. This is not the first time Peru has experienced this as there was a similar situation in 1999 in the Cusco region where 24 children died from eating pesticide contaminated food.

Photo: Shinyai