As many as 34 students were taken ill allegedly after consuming food at the hostel mess of Hampi University in Karnataka's Bellary district on Monday. According to reports, the students who had their lunch at the hostel mess fell sick due to food poisoning and were rushed to a nearby hospital late Monday night. Of those 34 students, 20 have been discharged so far while rests are undergoing medical treatment.
However, this is not an isolated tragedy in Karnataka. Incidents of food poisoning and students falling ill by eating hostel foods and midday meals have become very frequent in the southern state, highlighting a major health issue, specially for children.
In February, at least 40 students between class 1 and 8 of a government school fell ill after eating food under midday meal programme at Bevoor village in Karnataka's Koppal district. The students were immediately shifted to the Koppal district hospital after many of them started vomiting. Further investigation stated that a dead lizard was found in the midday meal which was prepared by the school authority itself.
In a similar incident, 10 students of a Bengaluru school fell ill after having their midday meals in January. In December 2018, over 100 students belonging to two different schools in Ballari and Bagalkot districts were rushed to the hospital after they had their midday meals.
Talking about another such instance, over 350 children of Government Urdu Higher Primary School in Bengaluru's DJ Halli had fallen ill consuming their midday meal in 2014. At that time too, a dead lizard was found in the rice.
Food poisoning incidents in Karnataka have witnessed a steady growth in the last decade. 2008 saw just fifty food poisoning outbreak rates, which indicates that, between 2008 and 2017, food poisoning outbreaks increased fivefold. Schoolchildren have been falling victim to the infectious decease at alarming rates for the past few years.