250 Bangladeshi children ill after eating UN biscuits: police | world | Hindustan Times
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250 Bangladeshi children ill after eating UN biscuits: police

At least 250 school children in southwestern Bangladesh became violently ill on Monday soon after eating protein biscuits distributed by the UN's World Food Programme, police said.

world Updated: Jun 01, 2009 20:27 IST

At least 250 school children in southwestern Bangladesh became violently ill on Monday soon after eating protein biscuits distributed by the UN's World Food Programme, police said.

Army ambulances were called in to the remote Khagrachari region of the Chittagong Hill Tracts after the pupils, aged between seven and nine, complained of severe stomach pain, local police chief Belayet Hossain said.

"As many as 250 students fell sick as soon as they ate the WFP's high-protein biscuits. We took 180 children to hospitals and most are fine now," Hossain said.

"We have checked the high-protein biscuits and found that their packets did not mention any manufacturing or expiry dates," he said.

Emamul Haque, WFP spokesman in Dhaka, told AFP the agency ordered the biscuits to be tested as soon as reports surfaced of the sudden illness.

"As yet there is no proven connection between the biscuits and the children's illnesses but we have pulled distribution of the food in the area and sent samples for testing," he said, adding results would be available Tuesday.

Haque said the high-protein biscuits were produced in Bangladesh and subjected to stringent WFP health regulations during manufacturing.

The WFP runs a feeding programme in the region which last year was hit by a once-in-five-decade rat infestation that led to severe shortages of food in the hilly districts.