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Food Poisoning Deaths Decline by Almost Half in 2006
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Food poisoning claimed 196 lives in China last year, a decline of 48.56 percent over the previous year, China's Ministry of Health told Xinhua on Wednesday.

China's hospitals and other medical facilities at all levels treated 18,063 people for food poisoning in 2006.

There were 17 food poisoning incidents involving 100 people or more, according to the ministry.

Most of the fatal food poisoning incidents were caused by toxic animal and plants, especially toxic mushrooms, balloon fish and kidney, haricot, navy beans that had been improperly cooked, the ministry warned.

Food poisoning mostly occurred between June and September when higher temperatures help harmful bacteria to grow.

Most food poisoning occurred in rural areas, cafeterias, schools, said the ministry.

(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)

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