The Eastern Cape police have opened an inquiry after a number of children from four different schools fell ill in the Chris Hani District after apparently consuming expired goods.
THE EASTERN Cape police have opened an inquiry after several children from four different schools fell ill in the Chris Hani District after apparently consuming expired goods.
According to the Eastern Cape Health Department, the number of learners presenting with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, itchiness, high temperature and shortness of breath in Komani, Eastern Cape health facilities currently sits at 143.
This after the learners all reported that they bought snacks and food from local hawkers or local shops last week.
On Thursday, 120 learners were treated in hospital and local clinics respectively, while a further 23 learners from a school in Mlungisi township in Komani were rushed to Frontier Hospital on Friday morning.
Police spokesperson Majola Nkohli said: “An inquiry docket was opened for the purposes of conducting toxics analysis on the samples that were taken, after several children from four different schools fell ill in the Chris Hani District, Eastern Cape last week.
On Thursday, October 26, learners from three schools at the Mlungisi policing precinct fell ill following the allegation of ingesting expired food from several sources. A task team comprising of the SAPS, Environmental Health from Enoch Mgijima Municipality and other pertinent stakeholders obtained food samples from several suppliers for further investigation. The results of the analysis will determine the next cause of action.”
Although tests are yet to confirm the cause of illness, Eastern Cape Health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth has called for food safety inspections to be intensified and for action to be taken against shop owners found to be selling expired goods.
MEC Meth added: “The law must take its course against shop owners selling expired food items. The department is concerned with the prevalence of suspected food poisoning cases.
“We are calling for all our municipalities to embark on similar raids on a regular basis and not only when there are cases of suspected food poisoning.”
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba added that he had previously sounded the alarm about the dangers of counterfeit goods including foods and medicine and called for national authorities to act.
“We are now sitting in a situation where the state’s failure to address the threat of counterfeit goods may lead to a situation where communities take the law into their own hands,” he said.