‘Too much juice, junk food’ made participants sick

AN official of the Department of Education 7 denied that food poisoning downed more than 60 participants of the National Musabaqah Skills Exhibition competition in Cebu City last week.

Hyperacidity, dyspepsia and urinary tract infection (UTI) were the main culprits, said Dr. Juliet Jeruta, DepEd 7 director.

Jeruta said that based on the stool samples collected from the participants, there was no sign that there was bacterial contamination in the food eaten by the participants.

“There was no indication whatsoever about food poisoning. The laboratory test would not tell lies; the results of the stool examination would indicate that,” Jeruta told reporters yesterday.

Initially, some parents who distributed stewed squid and made tuna sandwiches served at the Ecotech Center, the official venue of the competition, were blamed.

Jeruta said that on the second day of the competition, some of the participants ate too much junk food and drank too much brewed coffee and juice served at the competition, resulting in indigestion.

She also found that majority of those who were hospitalized had been lodged in two private hotels.

During their investigation, Jeruta found that some of the participants also bought food outside the hotel, such as juice and leche con yelo, a type of cold treat sold on the streets. They were able to determine this based on the plastic waste found in the rooms of the participants.

Jeruta said they can’t pin the blame on food handlers at the Ecotech Center as proper food handling was observed during the five-day competition.

She said that if the food served at the venue were to blame, she and other official there would have been hospitalized, too.

Last week, 68 participants of the competition were brought to two hospitals in Cebu City after complaining of stomach ache, severe diarrhea, and vomiting. (JKV)
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