Italy mayor halts school lunch after suspect food poisoning

ROME — The mayor of the Adriatic city of Pescara has suspended the public school lunch service as a precaution after some 80 children and half a dozen teachers were treated at hospital emergency rooms over the weekend for intestinal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Public health officials said Monday they hadn't determined the cause, saying the suspected food poisoning could be from a toxin or bacteria, but not a virus. Most of the children were sent home but a few were admitted to the hospital.

Mayor Marco Alessandrini posted the city ordinance suspending the lunch program on his Facebook page. He said it was a precaution and in effect until the cause is determined.

The ANSA news agency said the carabinieri's food safety unit had sequestered samples from the meal service company.

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