India: 22 school children die from eating school lunch

From the AP:

PATNA, India – At least 22 children died and more than two dozen others were sick after eating a free school lunch that was tainted with insecticide, Indian officials said Wednesday…

The children, between the ages of 5 and 12, fell ill Tuesday soon after eating lunch…School authorities immediately stopped serving the meal of rice, lentils, soybeans and potatoes as the children started vomiting…

The lunch, part of a popular national campaign to give at least one daily hot meal to children from poor families, was cooked in the school kitchen…

Authorities suspended an official in charge of the free meal scheme in the school and registered a case of criminal negligence against the school headmaster, who fled as soon as the children fell ill…

India’s midday meal scheme is one of the world’s biggest school nutrition programs. State governments have the freedom to decide on menus and timings of the meals, depending on local conditions and availability of food rations. It was first introduced in southern India, where it was seen as an incentive for poor parents to send their children to school.

Governments don’t do things well. Even when they try to be helpful (or were they trying to eliminate these children of the poor?), they mess things up.

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