78 Children Ill With Food Poisoning At Ukraine Summer Camp

KIEV, Ukraine -- Poor-quality food prepared at a Ukrainian summer camp has left 84 Russian children and staff at the vacation centre ill, health officials said Wednesday.

The mass food poisoning took place at the Albatros youth resort near the port city Sevastopol, in the Black Sea peninsula Crimea.

Most of the 78 victims were aged from 8 to 16 and had travelled to the camp from the Russian cities of Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Orekhovo-Zuevo, Interfax reported.

All but one of the children were suffering from moderate food poisoning and were expected to recover quickly, while one child was faring worse than the others. Six adults also were treated.

Health Minister Oleksandr Anishchenko said he intended to sack the public health director in the city Sevastopol for allowing the summer camps to operate, and for failing to enforce health regulations.

Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka has ordered a nationwide investigation into food preparation safety at summer youth camps, with a 'special focus' on the Chernihiv and Zaporizhia districts, as well as the city of Sevastopal.

All three locations have in recent weeks seen mass cases of food-poisoned children on summer vacation, he said.

Health officials were inspecting the camps' kitchens, and managers there would likely face criminal charges, an official at the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

A Channel 24 television news report said inspectors found 'massive health law violations.'

Anishchenko said he believed the food poisoning was caused by ice cream which all 84 ill people had eaten, out of a total 293 children and staff members at the camp.

'Anyone who ate ice cream got sick,' he said, according to Korrespondent web magazine.

The Russian government was organizing charter transportation for the children to return home immediately, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement.

Group food poisoning most often occurs in Ukraine during the summer months when warm weather and occasional poor refrigeration cause quick spoilage of food served to holiday-markers.

Dairy, fish, meat, eggs and mayonnaise are the foods most commonly affected.

Source: DPA