A quick update about the use of tainted rice in Tokushima from an article in the Tokushima Newspaper yesterday:
On Thursday, September 25 it was discovered that the total number of schools affected by this issue has come to a total of 231 primary schools, junior high shools and kindergartens, two prefectural junior high schools, and six special support schools in 20 local municipalities throughout the prefecure. However, no risk to health is expected.
These results were compiled from a survey by the Prefectural Board of Education and local Boards of Education.
The spread of affected schools is 40 kindergartens, 138 primary schools, 55 junior high schools (prefectural schools included) and six special support schools. This includes schools that have closed over the past years since the product was first used, and school mergers as well, but overall comes to 60% of all the primary and junior high schools in the prefecture. Furthermore, it was newly shown that the Kito Primary and Junior High Schools in Naka-cho are also affected.
The period in which the product was said to have been used was from 2003 to 2008, and primary schools in Tokushima City show the highest rate of use at 17 times during this period. Further statistics on the past use of the product are still being compiled at each of the local municipal Boards of Education.
The food used in school lunches is decided upon individually by local municipalities, being ordered from school lunch centres and according to local need. However, not every school in the same region necessarily uses the same products, one of the reasons it has been proving difficult to collect accurate data so quickly.
Overall, many of the affected schools sent messages home to parents via students on Wednesday, September 24 about the issue. In Minami-cho, letters were sent via post to parents to explain the situation, while in letters in Mima City the additional information that “The use of starch in the fried eggs accounts for only 1% of the food, and as such presents no health risk.”