Nine persons, including eight minors, died and nearly 200 people were taken ill after eating rice and pork at an after-church feast in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya, officials said.
"Eight persons, including seven minors, died today due to food poisoning at Nongkya village," district Deputy Commissioner CP Gotmare said.
Another minor died yesterday at Umsning, a senior Health department official said.
Four persons died at the Ganesh Das hospital in the state capital here, one at the Shillong Civil Hospital, one at a private hospital at Nongpoh, two in Nongkya village and one at the Umsning CHC, the official added.
Nearly 200 others from nearby villages fell ill after consuming the food at the Sunday feast, he said.
Of them, 80 were admitted to the Nongpoh Civil Hospital, 33 to the Umsning CHC, 23 to the Bhoilymbong health facility and the rest to the Shillong Civil Hospital, NEIGRIHMS and Ganesh Das Hospital, he added.
Following a preliminary enquiry, Food Safety officials did not rule out that the packed rice and pork served after the church service was stale and unfit for consumption.
Samples of the food were collected today and sent to the Guwahati-based Public Health Laboratory, Joint Commissioner, Food Safety, SN Sangma said.
The victims are residents of 10 adjoining villages.