19 children die after eating school lunch in India
Published: July 16, 2013 09:38PM
Updated: July 16, 2013 09:39PM

Patna, India • Nineteen children have died and more are sick after eating free meals at a primary school in eastern India.

Bihar state official Amarjit Sinha says 28 children have been hospitalized in Patna, the state capital. Ten of them are in serious condition. The children are age 8 to 11.

They fell ill soon after eating meals in the school on Tuesday in Masrakh, a village 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Patna.

The meal was cooked in the school kitchen.

P.K. Sahi, the state education minister, says a preliminary investigation suggests the food had traces of phosphorous, which is used to preserve rice and wheat.

Many state governments in India have launched midday meal programs for poor children. Malnutrition is one of the major health concerns among Indian children.