SAITAMA -- The cause of a food poisoning outbreak that affected a total of 3,453 students and others at 15 public schools in the city of Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, eastern Japan, has been pinpointed to a seaweed salad harboring E. coli bacteria, the city's board of education advised on July 13.
Students had developed symptoms including stomach pains and diarrhea after eating the school-lunch provided salad. Stool tests by the prefectural city of Soka's public health center, along with other investigations elsewhere, showed the offending dish to have been the seafood salad served on June 26. The cause of the food poisoning was found to be that wakame seaweed and seaweed salad mix ingredients were not heated up to kill bacteria after being soaked in water.
School lunches remain suspended at the city's schools, and students are expected to bring their own packed lunches until Aug. 4.
(Japanese original by Yoshitaka Takeda, Koshigaya Local Bureau)