Cyprus: Halloumi blamed for school poisoning

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THE HEALTH Ministry said yesterday bad halloumi was the culprit in last week’s school food poisoning outbreak.

“From the investigation that followed the incident through the food trail involved in making the sandwich at the school canteen, it seems it was the halloumi that caused the food poisoning,” the Ministry said in a written statement.

More than 20 students from the Ayios Neophytos high school in Limassol checked into hospital with gastro-intestinal symptoms after consuming school canteen sandwiches.

The Ministry said legal and other measures would be taken against those responsible.

It said the halloumi sample taken from the canteen had been analysed by the state lab, which had detected staphylococci in the cheese used to make the sandwiches.

An examination of the place where the sandwiches were made also showed that they were being stored in temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius, in violation of hygiene rules.

The canteen had been temporarily shut to carry out instructions from the Health Services on the required measures for the preparation and storage of food items, the Ministry said.

The Ministry is also organising a seminar on food hygiene for all schools in Limassol, it added. These have already been held in Nicosia.

Checks would also be continued and samples taken on a regular basis on all food sources from factories to canteens.

The halloumi used at Ayios Neophytos high school came from a dairy producer just outside Limassol, who also supplies the cheese to 18 other establishments.



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