Education MEC awaits lab results after school pupils come down with ‘food poisoning’

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has ordered an investigation into how pupils became ill after eating food prepared at a school in Tshwane. File photo.
Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has ordered an investigation into how pupils became ill after eating food prepared at a school in Tshwane. File photo.
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo/Sowetan

Gautengs education department is awaiting feedback from an investigation into allegations of food poisoning affecting as many as 203 pupils at MH Baloyi Secondary School in Winterveld, Tshwane.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi visited the school on Thursday and sanctioned an investigation into the allegations.

Lesufi said samples of the food had been taken to a laboratory.

Pupils who consumed food during break on Tuesday complained about stomach pains and upset stomachs in the early hours of Wednesday.

Provincial education spokesperson Steve Mabona said about 203 pupils who consumed the food had experienced stomach ailments and many were taken to health facilities for medical attention.

“Fortunately, all the pupils were discharged in the evening. Pupils allegedly consumed food during break on March 16 and the school day ended without any pupil complaining about a stomach bug. On March 17 several pupils in a classroom complained about having a stomach bug and some said they were not able to sleep the previous night,” he said.

During the visit, Lesufi spoke to the management of the school and district officials about the incident.

Lesufi interacted with pupils and apologised for their predicament.

“What happened is unfortunate. I met with the pupils and they explained what happened. I also met with the people who were cooking. The leadership of the school, the district and I have taken samples to laboratories and I am waiting for the outcome of those samples,” said Lesufi.

“Until then we advised the suspicious food must not be served. Only fruits, porridge and other ready-made food must be served until we get the results, which will assist us with a way forward.”

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