WAKAYAMA (TR) – Over 700 students and teachers were sickened after eating school lunches in Gobo City, officials said on Friday.
The 719 victims of four public kindergartens and 11 elementary and middle schools started exhibiting symptoms of food poisoning since Thursday night, likely caused by consuming school lunches sometime before Wednesday, Nippon News Network reports (Jan. 28).
City officials temporarily closed down schools on Friday, and decided to keep them closed on Monday.
Public health officials are inspecting the city’s school lunch provider after the victims showed symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and fever, though there were no serious cases.
Meals are prepared in batches by the school lunch provider before being distributed to kindergartens and schools. The last meal was prepared on Wednesday.
Public health officials are rushing to identify any ingredients that could have been the cause among two weeks’ worth of meals currently stored at the provider.
Makoto Sohei, head of the meal provider, said there is “a strong possibility we [are the cause] isn’t there, at this stage. I am truly sorry.”
A middle school student said they suffered “vomiting and diarrhea. I feel so gross. I [threw up] four times. I’m a little scared of eating school lunches now.”