22 Sep 2011
Three children have died after eating a school meal contaminated with rat poison.
Peru’s health ministry said 89 children and five adults were affected by the food in Redondo, an Andean hamlet 300 miles north-west of Lima.
The mother of one of the dead children said they showed signs of having been poisoned.
“I think it was poison because all the kids are purple, from all parts of the school,” said the mother, who was not named. “My little boy has died. My nine-year-old boy, Miguel Angel, has died.”
The food had been donated by the National Food Assistance Programme, which gives food to schools in the poorest parts of the country.
Peruvian health official Miguel Zumaeta said the cause “looks like it was a carbonates intoxication, which means rat poison”.
Prosecutors and health ministry officials are investigating.
In a similar case in 1999, 24 children died in a village near Cuzco in southern Peru after eating food contaminated by pesticide.