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Food poisoning downs 300

/ 08:48 PM October 06, 2011

City officials of Santa Rosa in Laguna have ordered the inspection of all food establishments at a popular mall in the city after around 300 teachers and students were downed by food poisoning inside a mall restaurant during Tuesday’s Teachers’ Day event.

Mayor Arlene Arcillas on Thursday said that while tests had yet to confirm that the food catered by Pancit sa Bilao restaurant in SM City caused the poisoning, the inspection was called for to make sure that all establishments at the mall are complying with food sanitary measures.

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She said a food sample was already submitted to the Bureau of Food and Drugs for testing.

Following a meeting with officials of the Department of Education and the city government, the restaurant agreed to shoulder the hospital expenses of the teachers and students  and promised to provide medical assistance to those affected but were not hospitalized, Arcillas said.

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None of the teachers has filed a complaint against the restaurant, which is also a regular caterer to the other functions of the city government, the mayor said.

Around 1,500 elementary and high school teachers in the city and some students joined the Teachers’ Day program organized by the DepEd at the activity area of SM City on Tuesday. They were served with “pancit palabok” catered by Pancit sa Bilao.

The teachers began vomiting and complaining of stomach upset and diarrhea when they got home that day, while others went through the same ordeal by early morning of the following day, Arcillas said in a phone interview.

A report from the DepEd said 285 people, including 24 students, were initially downed. Forty-six were brought to the hospitals and 34 were confined until Wednesday.

As of Thursday, Arcillas said 321 teachers and 26 pupils were still “affected” by the poisoning. “That number should not go up anymore because the doctors said they should have discharged (the toxins) by this time,” she said.

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