Four Chinese Pupils Dead From Suspected Food Poisoning

December 14, 2007 Updated: December 14, 2007

Four pupils in China's southern province, Yunnan, died after eating instant noodles on Dec. 3. All of them experienced symptoms of poisoning and then died after reaching school.

According to Ludian County Party Chief, Ma Jilin, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Dec. 3, four pupils from Lehong Elementary School experienced symptoms of poisoning on the way to school. One died in the classroom; two died after being sent to the Village Health Station; and another died on the way to the County Health Station.

The local county government has claimed to have started an emergency plan and has ordered an investigation of the accident.

Based on the primary investigation, three pupils were female and one was male. One was a first-grade student; two were third-grade students; and one was a fifth-grade student. The school is comprised of seven classes with more than 500 students. Except for the deaths of the four pupils, there have been no other unusual incidents.

As soon as the news was disclosed, expressions of anger were widespread on the mainland Internet. Many surfers called for the government to conduct a thorough investigation and make public the brand name of the instant noodles.

One surfer said, “Now our kids in the city eat garbage made in foreign countries, and our kids in the countryside eat garbage made in China.”

“All I can say is how terrible! Four kids shared a pack of instant noodles and then died of that. The fraud is … also fatal,” commented another surfer.

Another surfer questioned the authority's emergency plan: “Food safety is mentioned everyday, but the key point is that nobody is responsible for food safety and citizens' lives. What kind of emergency plan is that? Only the officials know!”

The reasons behind the poisoning remain unknown.