//Evidence of bacteria found in cooked rice

Evidence of bacteria found in cooked rice

Thiruvananthapuram: The microbiological analysis of samples of cooked food collected from Cotton Hill Girls Higher Secondary School and Manacaud Girls High School, which are suspected to have triggered off a food poisoning attack in both schools on Friday, has shown the evidence of bacterial contamination, it is learnt.

The food samples had been sent by the District Food Inspector to the Microbiology department of the Medical College Hospital and the samples of raw materials collected from Vanchi Poor Fund, which had prepared the food that led to the infection, to the Government Analysis Lab (GAL).

Reports today –Both the reports are expected to be submitted to the authorities on Tuesday. It is learnt that the microbiological analysis of the food samples showed the presence of the bacteria, bacillus cereus, in three samples collected from both schools.

This indicates the contamination of food after it has been cooked. Bacillus cereus is an aerobic organism and contamination by this organism occurs when food is prepared and kept without proper refrigeration for several hours before it is served. The Vanchi Poor Fund authorities had said that the food is cooked between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. on all school days and reached to the schools by 9.30 a.m. The meal is then served to the students at 12.30 p.m. Bacillus cereus contamination creates two types of illnesses. The type with abdominal pain and diarrhoea manifests within four to 16 hours of eating contaminated food, while the second type, with an acute attack of nausea or vomiting, occurs within one to five hours of the consumption of such food.

As the children had been brought in within two hours of consuming the food, the second type of infection must have happened, it is pointed out. The report from the Government Analysis Lab on whether there was adulteration in the rice is awaited. Some 140 children from the two schools had been rushed to the General Hospital on Friday after they took ill on consuming the noon meal comprising rice and sambar served to them.  The development had set off a panic wave among parents as the Vanchi Poor Fund prepares noon meals for 4,263 students in 29 city schools daily.