As many as 134 schoolchildren of St. Teresa's Convent at Konniyoor in Poovachal panchayat were taken ill with symptoms of food poisoning on Thursday.
The children were rushed to the Vellanad community health centre (CHC) when they started showing symptoms of food poisoning - vomiting, dizziness - around 2.30 p.m. after taking the school's noon- meal consisting of rice gruel and green gram.
The district health administration despatched additional doctors to the CHC to handle the situation. Fourteen children were referred to the SAT Hospital and three to the General Hospital where they were kept under observation. Six children were kept under observation at the CHC, while the rest were sent home after giving first aid. The condition of none of the children was serious, district health authorities said.
The food inspector and the district health team led by the District Medical Officer, who visited the school, collected samples of the cooked food, raw ingredients, and water. According to district health administration sources, the rice had some unpleasant smell and several children had initially refused to take the food. The rice supplied by the Civil Supplies Corporation belonged to the June stock, they said.
Officials took samples of milk and egg which were distributed to the children during the mid-morning break.
The local people got apprehensive when large numbers of children were hospitalised. Speaker G. Karthikeyan, Education Minister P.K. Abdu Rabb, and the RDO visited the health centre.