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Food Poisonings Hit Students

Seventeen students in east China's Zhejiang Province were hospitalized Thursday morning for acute stomachache, diarrhea and vomiting, and local sanitation authorities suspect food served at their school canteen was to blame.

The students, all boarders at the No. 2 High School of Yuyao, started to report symptoms of food poisoning late Wednesday night and early Thursday. Most of them had poached eggs at the school canteen at lunch and supper on Wednesday.

A subsequent investigation by the city's sanitation authorities on Thursday showed many raw eggs in stock at the canteen had cracks on the shells and were probably stale.

Officials have taken sample of the raw eggs for laboratory work. "We have to wait for the test results to tell the cause of the poisoning," said a sanitation official without giving his name.

Most of the students had been discharged from hospital by Thursday night, according to doctors with the People's Hospital in Yuyao, where the sickened students were treated.

The school canteen, which is run by a former restaurateur and has more than 20 employees, serves nearly 1,000 students and teachers.

More than 40 students were hospitalized after eating unsanitary food in Putian City of south China's Fujian Province on Wednesday. No one died in the accident, according to local Sanitation and Anti-Epidemic Station.

The contaminated food came from a canteen in Jinjinjiang Middle School. Some students reported symptoms of stomachache, diarrhea, nausea on Wednesday after eating lunch and supper on campus. The affected students were rushed to a local hospital and received medical treatment.

An investigation by the local government's sanitation and anti-epidemic department showed that the food became tainted with bacteria as a result of sub-standard sanitary control. The canteen food failed to meet national food sanitation and safety standards, said Huang Jianghui, director of the Station.

All hospitalized students are in stable condition and out of danger, according to the hospital. Specific causes for the accident are still under investigation.

(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2004)

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