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School cafeterias ordered to improve management

(Xinhua)

09:09, April 26, 2012

BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Education on Wednesday asked school cafeterias to improve management of food safety and increase students' awareness of the subject.

In the wake of a number of food poisoning incidents in China, the ministry warned in a statement that there will be increasing possibilities of food poisoning as the weather is warming.

The Chinese government started a program to improve the diet of rural students last autumn. As a trial run, a number of schools in rural areas began to provide free lunches for students.

Since cafeterias in these schools might not be well equipped and their staff may be less experienced, there are management loopholes concerning food safety, the statement said.

Local education authorities are urged to improve inspection and help schools establish effective management on the supply and storage of foods, and they should also tighten checks on the qualifications of catering companies and canteens, it added.

A series of food poisoning cases have been reported by Chinese schools in the past month.

The latest incident emerged on Monday in east China's Jiangsu province, where about 40 students at a middle school developed food poisoning symptoms after eating lunch at a school canteen.

Southwest China's Yunnan province has also reported four food poisoning incidents in schools since the end of March.

Schools are urged to increase students' awareness of food safety, by encouraging them to maintain good hygiene habits and refuse to eat contaminated food, the statement said.

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