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School Headmistress Jailed for Student Food Poisoning Incident
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A corrupt Chinese primary school headmistress has been jailed for a year after being found responsible for a food poisoning incident that caused 185 students to fall ill.

A local court heard that Dou Pingzhen, 50, former headmistress of the primary school affiliated to the Sun Yat-sen University, Guangdong Province, had accepted 52,500 yuan in bribes (US$6,900) from an unlicensed food company in return for allowing it to provide catering for students.

Students had reported to Dou several times that the food was substandard, but the problem was never solved, the Haizhu District Court heard.

On Oct. 11 last year, 185 students aged from six to 12, and several teachers fell ill after drinking soya bean milk and eating red bean cakes made by the company.

An investigation by the city health bureau showed the utensils used by the company were not sanitary and the food was contaminated.

Dou was removed from her post after the accident. In February, Dou admitted to the district procurator that she had taken bribes.

The court gave her a two-year reprieve on the sentence.

The city education bureau has issued guidelines on school canteen sanitation, requiring all schools in the city to have professional sanitation supervisors.

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2007)

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