Egypt suspends school lunches after mass food poisoning

Health Minister Tarek Shawki described the suspension as a "precautionary" measure in a televised interview with a local TV station.

Published: 23rd March 2017 08:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2017 08:04 PM   |  A+A-

By Associated Press

CAIRO:  An outbreak of food poisoning has sickened thousands of Egyptian schoolchildren this month, figures showed Thursday, sending parents rushing to hospitals and leading the Education Ministry to temporarily suspend its school lunch program.

Egypt saw 4,650 suspected food poisoning cases in schools nationwide in March alone, the Cabinet said in a statement carried by state-run news agency MENA, compared to some 300 cases previously reported since the beginning of the academic year in September.

In a single incident last week in the southern city of Sohag, at least 3,353 students were affected. Similar outbreaks have taken place this week in other governorates, though on a much smaller scale, including in the canal city of Suez, Menoufiya in the Nile Delta and the southern city of Aswan.

The Education Ministry suspended the distribution of school meals nationwide as of Thursday, saying late Wednesday that a committee will be formed to "find out the reasons behind these occurrences ... and conduct required investigations." School meals are provided to around nine million students in Egypt daily.

Sobhi Abdelrahman, the nutrition director at the Education Ministry, told The Associated Press that "the suspension decision covers all the meals that might have caused the problem."

"We are waiting on the findings of the public prosecution, who is investigating the case," he added, affirming that meals undergo "thorough examination" by authorities prior to distribution.

Health Minister Tarek Shawki described the suspension as a "precautionary" measure in a televised interview with a local TV station. In a press conference Thursday, Health Ministry official Amr Kandil said an investigation of school meals had detected no microbes linked to food poisoning.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp