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Students protest mass food poisoning in Egypt

Hundreds of Al-Azhar university students protest mass food poisoning after consuming meal served in their dormitories.

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2013 07:59
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The Ministry of Health said the 583 students affected were distributed among eight hospitals in Cairo [AP]

Hundreds of Egyptian students angered by a mass outbreak of food poisoning, have been protesting for a second day after nearly 500 students from Cair's Al-Azhar university were admitted to hospital with food poisoning. 

Khaled el-Khateib, a senior Egyptian health ministry official, said on Tuesday that all cases of poisoning occurred after a meal was served at the dormitories in the capital Nasr City district after a meal was served on Monday. 

Mohamed, a student at Al-Azhar said that this was not the first instance of food poisoning at the university.

"This is not the first time our food has been poisoned. A similar incident happened before. First, we demand clean food, and second, we demand the dismissal of the director of University City, since he is responsible for all the daily management."

The university issued a statement warning students not to "exploit" the mass food poisoning, saying that such incidents have occurred at other universities.

Investigation launched

Talaat Ebrahim, Egypt's Prosecutor-General has launched an investigation into the incident and ordered to refer all cooking tools used in preparing the food and samples of the food as well as the vomit to a criminal laboratory.

An official report from the Ministry of Health said the 583 students affected were distributed among eight hospitals in Cairo.

On Monday, hundreds of students angered by the incident demonstrated outside the residence halls, blocking roads and chanting slogans against the university's management. 

The angry students claimed the real number of the poisoned topped 1,000.

The university belongs to Al-Azhar mosque, the world's foremost seat of Sunni Muslim learning. Beside religious studies, the university awards degrees in sciences and humanities. 

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