The collapse of a ten-year-long plan about food safety in school

Author: B.Barc


  • Three cases of food poisoning incident had sequentially happened in primary schools of three places of rural districts within the past five days. Hundreds of pupils from several primary schools got ill.
  • As part of the National Medium- and Long-Term Program for Education Reform and Development 2010-2020, the Chinese Central Government, since autumn of 2011, has launched the program of improving nutrition for students in compulsory education from the rural area of which food safety and nutrition are two primary objects.

Within five days, there has been a succession of food poisoning incidents that occurred in multiple primary schools from rural districts of China.

On 7 June, one of the primary schools in the rural restricts of Henan province -Yaodian town in Dengzhou shut down due to the mass poisoning of students one day ago. “Many students and I felt dizzy and abdominal pain about half an hour after having lunch in the canteen of school,” one of the students said, however, the exact number of affected students was not specified in the relevance declaration announced by the local bureau of education(1).

Picture 1

The declaration announced by the local educational bureau of Dengzhou which did not specify the number of affected students.

On 9 Jun, another collective food poisoning broke out in the primary school of the Meihua town of Jiangsu province. The number of poisoned students is unknown. According to the local report, many ill students had to be transferred to hospital by bus due to the overload of emergency systems(2).

Picture 2

As indicated in the right part of the figure, buses were used to transfer ill students to hospitals due to the overload of the emergency system.

On 10 Jun, more than one hundred pupils from several schools in Yucheng county, another rural restrict of Henan province, were hospitalized after having food provided by their schools. As local media reported, those schools have a food source from the same company of so-called Central Kitchen, which is promoted by the national program of Improving Nutrition for Students In Compulsory Education from the Rural Area(3).

The screenshot is taken from a video that is showing many hospitalized pupils from Yucheng, Henan.

Irrespective of the challenging situation of the Coronavirus, the issue of food safety has been one of the major public concerning in recent years. In 2018. the State Council of China has already officially sent a warning to the local governments of several provinces due to a large scale of food poisoning incidents(4). Despite it, one of the best secondary schools in Sichuan province was found providing students with food that made of mildewy and spoiled materials last year, which caused a storm of protest by hundreds of parents(5).

Rotten bread

Mildew food materials was found in the school kitchen.

As mentioned above, the program of Improving Nutrition for Students In Compulsory Education from Rural Area is part of <National Medium- and Long-Term Program for Education Reform and Development 2010-2020> initiated by the Chinese Central Government. It demonstrated that this program primarily focuses on improving the safety and nutrition of the food provided to students in rural districts by funding to the school canteen and subsidy to students.

Although the State Council of China, in 2016, reported great achievement of this program for more than 33.6 million students who have benefited from total funding of 15.9 billion Yuan on its website(6), the present reality does not seem to agree with it. Anyway, it perhaps is not too embarrassing for China’s Central Government to announce the failure of this ten-year-long program at the end of 2020, as there might be a groundbreaking “finding” in Medicine as some of the ill students were diagnosed with a never reported disease “Hysteria abdominal pain” (心臆性腹痛) as long as the doctor was not lying(2).

According to the explanation from the doctor, the so-called “hysteria abdominal pain” appeared when some kids are noticing their fellows having the abdominal pain.


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