By Kim Rahn
Eel caused the mass sickness of elementary schoolchildren last month in Yeongi, South
Province, police said in a final report, Monday.
Thirty-one students got sick after eating fried eel served at the school. A
regional health institute examined all 14 boxes of the eel products and
detected a toxic pesticide, carbofuran, in two
boxes, according to police. The products were imported from Peru.
In a sample examination earlier this month, the chemical was found in the
edible oil kept after cooking but not in the frozen eel products. Police
then asked the institute to examine all the eel products. The oil contained
carbofuran because the chemical oozed out of the
eel into the oil, a police officer said.
``We investigated every other possibility of how the carbofuran
ended up in the meal, such as whether it was included while being
distributed, someone broke into the cafeteria and inserted it, or whether
chefs accidentally added it, but we found no such evidence,'' the officer
``When eel is frozen, pesticides do not permeate it but are washed away. It
seems that the eel was contaminated with carbofuran
before being frozen,'' he said.
The contaminated eel passed evaded quarantine because the authorities only
inspected samples. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries said that from now on it will examine all eel products imported
About 4.5 tons of the same product, imported in
September, were already distributed to home shopping companies and buffet