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Mass food poisoning at Egyptian university sparks student anger

Published: Updated:

In the second mass food poisoning case to hit Egypt’s al-Azhar University this month, 131 students were poisoned on Monday night, according to the country’s ministry of health.

Egyptian students broke out in protest when the cases were confirmed, blocking a road near the campus and clashing with police “who fired teargas in an attempt to open the road to traffic,” Egypt’s al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The suspected cause of the poisoning was a tuna fish meal eaten by the students at the campus cafeteria.

The students fell sick after eating meals served at the university's campus dormitory in the Nasr City district of the capital, the coordinator of the Popular Movement for an Independent Azhar was reported as saying by al-Ahram.

Earlier this month, some 460 Al-Azhar University students were hospitalized following a mass food poisoning on campus.

Protesting students said the incident on Monday was a sign of neglect by officials at al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old mosque and university in Cairo that draws students from across the Sunni world.

While food poisoning is not uncommon in Egyptian university dormitories, where basic hygiene standards are often not observed, the latest outbreak is the biggest in years.