Health officials in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, have identified bread in school lunches as the cause of a food poisoning epidemic that sickened more than 1,100 students, teachers and staff at 17 schools on Wednesday and Thursday.
Officials and the local board of education said bread, baked by pastry maker Hofuku Co, had been delivered to all the schools in question, Fuji TV reported Saturday. The bread was baked last Monday and delivered to the schools on Tuesday.
After investigating 10 random bread samples, officials confirmed the origin of the contamination after it was discovered that a female employee working at the plant, who had simply touched a doorknob on her way to the restroom, transferred the norovirus G2 onto the bread.
The company has been ordered to suspend operations pending an inspection.
As of Friday afternoon, nine students and eight teachers had contracted the norovirus, Fuji reported. All the infected people suffered from diarrhea and vomiting.© Japan Today