Cape Town - Hundreds of Mankgane Primary School learners in Limpopo had to be hospitalised last week as a result of food poisoning.
This was confirmed by the Limpopo Education Department to the Democratic Alliance.
"This is the second incident, in less than four months, of mass-poisoning of Limpopo learners resulting from school feeding schemes," said DA Limpopo provincial leader Jacques Smalle.
He said party will be laying criminal charges against the feeding scheme supplier.
Call to cancel contracts
"We further demand the immediate cancellation of the Sekhukhune supplier’s contract, and for a full investigation into the criminal negligence of Department officials to be completed without delay."
Read: Prevention of food poisoning
"How many lives is the department willing to risk before it properly vets suppliers of food to our learners?"
In November last year the contracts of two companies supplying food to schools in Limpopo were terminated because of food contamination.
The learners had to be hospitalised after suffering from diarrhoea, dizziness, vomiting and cramps from eating lunches tainted with crushed glass and stones.
"How is it possible that the same tragedy has struck again just four months later?" asked Smalle.
The DA will call for a full inquiry by the Limpopo legislature’s Education Committee into all school feeding scheme contracts the Department has entered into.
Health24 resident doctor Heidi van Deventer said the warning symptoms of food poisoning include fever, headache, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The dangers of food poisoning
"Food poisoning is very dangerous in adults but especially in children; they dehydrate extremely quickly and this could be life threatening. If you or your children show any of these signs, go to the nearest doctor, hospital or clinic for treatment. Do not delay."
Van Deventer also stressed the need to always be cautious: "If in any doubt, do not eat. Food items with even a tinge of blue or grey is not good."
She also advised that one important step to take to prevent food poisoning is to always wash your hands and your kids' hands and especially while working with food.
Food poisoning facts
The poisons and heavy metals in our food - part II
The poisons and heavy metals in our food – part I