Vietnam orders probe into food poisoning of Japanese students

By Vy An   October 31, 2016 | 02:04 am PT
A hotel in Ho Chi Minh City has been linked to the case, but an official says no conclusion yet.

Vietnam is working to find out what caused an apparent case of food poisoning that made 34 Japanese students sick when they were traveling home from Ho Chi Minh City last week.

The Japanese quarantine authority has confirmed that Vietnam Airlines had nothing to do with the incident.

The students were rushed to hospital right upon landing at Narita Airport in Tokyo with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. They had been visiting Vietnam with other students and their teachers on a five-day trip.

The group of 264 in total reportedly had dinner at a five-star hotel in HCMC prior to their Vietnam Airlines flight on Friday night.

When the plane arrived at Narita Airport in Tokyo at 7.45 a.m. local time on Saturday, it was met by a fleet of ambulances with medical staff ready to look after the passengers.

According to the flight report, a teacher confirmed they didn’t eat anything during the flight.

“We have reason to think that the passengers all had food poisoning after their diner at the hotel," Lai Xuan Thanh, the director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, told VnExpress. "There was nothing wrong with the in-flight meals or the plane.”

The aircraft was then checked by Japanese authorities before flying back to Vietnam.

Of the affected passengers, nobody was believed to show severe symptoms. All have been released from hospital.

The Vietnamese government has ordered HCMC to look into the case. Findings are expected to be announced in early November.

The medical staff at Narita Airport also issued an announcement that it was not necessary to check the quality of the in-flight meals.

Japanese authorities have requested the tour operator in Vietnam to collect food samples from the meals at the five-star hotel.

A city official said there has not been enough evidence to conclude that the hotel was responsible.

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