At least 18 students fell ill after consuming midday meal which became contaminated allegedly due to a dead scorpion in food in Chhattisgarh’s Balodabazar district on Wednesday, officials said.

“A girl student in a government middle school at Khamariya village of Sarsinwa region allegedly spotted the scorpion while having the meal, following which she complained to school authorities,” District Collector Rajesh Sukumar Toppo told PTI.

Soon, 18 students, between class 6th to 8th, complained of nausea and started vomitting and were taken to a nearby primary health centre, Toppo said.

“All students have been discharged after treatment,” he said.

Officials said Hemant Sahu, who is in-charge of the midday meal in the school, has been suspended following preliminary investigation into the incident, while the self-help group (SHG) involved in cooking the food under the scheme removed.

About 45 students attended the school on Wednesday and consumed the midday meal, according to officials.