South Africa: Food At Mpumalanga School Deemed Safe to Eat After Two Pupils Die From Suspected Poison

The Mpumalanga Department of Education says investigations following the death of two pupils at Nelson Ngubeni Primary School have found that there were no mircroorganisms that could have caused their deaths.

On Monday, the province's Education MEC Bonakele Majuba said the outcome was based on samples taken from the food supplied by the school to pupils.

He announced that the report findings meant that the food at the school was safe for consumption.

News24 previously reported that poisoned popcorn was believed to have caused the death of the pupils on Monday, according to daily newspaper The Star.

The pupils were identified as Busisiwe Tiny Mkhatshwa, 10, and Zamokuhle Jacob Maepa, 7, according to The Star. Mkhatshwa's sister told the publication that she had complained of a stomach ache and headache when she returned home from school on Monday afternoon.

Majuba said, following the outcome of the investigation, pupils would start receiving food again.

While the school nutrition programme has been deemed "safe", several recommendations have been made by the department - that it strengthens its housekeeping in the kitchen, replace old cooking equipments and intensifies hygiene measures.

The school was also directed to attend to the outside dumping area situated next to the kitchen by working together with the local municipality and developing sound pest control measures.

"Notwithstanding the fact that investigations are ongoing on the samples that were taken from the Tuck/Spaza shops and that the matters now rest within the ambit of the police, the team made the following recommendations: Schools will remain on high alert for any learner presenting with similar signs and symptoms and report to the local health care facilities.

"The environmental health practitioners will continue to support and monitor the school on safe food measures on regular basis. The department will continue to support the school, render psycho-social support to learners and teachers."

The department has directed the school governing body to schedule a meeting with parents, informing them of the outcomes of the investigation and to educate children about health related practices.

"The department will work with all roleplayers to ensure that a favourable environment is created at this school including the surrounding schools," Majuba said.

Source: News24

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