Pesticide Confirmed in Deadly Indian School Lunches

23 children died


A medical official in the eastern Indian state of Bihar confirmed Thursday that pesticide had contaminated the free school lunch that killed 23 children this week, triggering outrage among parents.

The children, most of them between the ages of 5 and 12, fell sick Tuesday at their school in the village of Gandamal almost immediately after eating the midday meal of rice, lentils, potatoes and soy. Amarkant Jha Amar, the superintendent of Patna Medical College and Hospital in Bihar's capital, said it appeared from postmortem reports that pesticide either was used instead of cooking oil or got mixed with the oil used to prepare the lunch.