Attorney General Says Insecticide Killed Children In Food Program

Attorney General Jose Pelaez said Tuesday that the deaths of three children in Peru’s northern Cajamarca region were due to the contamination of their food from insecticide.

Pelaez said that a postmortem analysis found traces of insecticide that caused the poisoning, state news agency Andina reported.  Pelaez said that the investigation into their deaths is continuing.

“What has been determined is that it was insecticide,” he said. “I can’t provide the name at this moment, but it is a chemical, an insecticide.”

The children were given the food as part of the government’s National Food Assistance Program, Pronaa, distributed through the school system. Another 89 children at the Redondo village school, in the province of Cajabamba, were taken to hospital because of the food poisoning, and 65 still remained hospitalized on Wednesday. Some of the school teachers had also suffered from mild poisoning.

The Women and Social Development Minister, Aida Garcia-Naranjo, has said that the food itself was not contaminated, but rather the containers that were used to prepare it.   In the past, cases of food poisoning have proven to be due to careless handling of food in inappropriate containers or storing the foodstuffs alongside fertilizers, pesticides and farming or industrial chemicals. 

Pelaez said that his office is also investigating claims that the former head of the food program, Dante Mendoza, tried to bribe the families of the deceased children with 150 soles (approximately $55) to not file charges against the program.

“Also, we are going to find out who handled the food,” Pelaez said.

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One Comment

  1. deborah sletten says:

    Organic farming is safer for all living things. Chemicals end up in the run off polluting ground water and that of rivers and streams which eventually travels the globe causing problems in the fish we eat etcetera. There are safe ways to protect crops without hurting every living thing.

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