The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Safety scurry after lizard in breakfast

Siliguri, Nov. 9: Authorities at the Seventh Day Adventist English Medium School in Naxalbari have decided to upgrade food safety measures at the institution where yesterday 91 students fell ill after taking breakfast that had a lizard in it.

A source at the school said one student started vomiting after he spotted the lizard in the breakfast comprising ghugni and suji.

“It is possible that other students were psychologically affected since they, too, saw the lizard in his breakfast. The children started vomiting and complained of stomach ache. We lost no time in taking them to the Naxalbari Block Hospital,” said the source.

Confirming that a lizard had been spotted in the breakfast, Sudan Das, the principal of the residential school, said food safety measures and hygiene would be improved so that such incidents did not recur at the institute.

The principal was out of station when the incident occurred yesterday.

“The students who fell ill are in a stable condition now. We take proper measures to ensure the quality of food and yesterday’s incident was an isolated one. Now onwards, the kitchen will be supervised strictly and the staff members have been advised to wash vegetables properly and examine the foodgrain and pulses carefully before cooking them. The hygienic conditions in the kitchen will be upgraded,” said Das.

The school has more than 300 children studying from Nursery to Class VII and all of them are from financially backward families.

Forty students were released after preliminary treatment at the Naxalbari Block Hospital, while 41 were admitted yesterday. Ten children are recuperating at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.

Tulsi Pramanik, the assistant chief medical officer of health, Siliguri, said all the students were out of danger. “Thirty-three students were released from the Naxalbari hospital today. The children admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital are recovering.”

“Food samples have been collected and sent for tests. We expect the results to come in about a fortnight,” he added.

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