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China: Around The Nation

Elite kindergarten in China accused of serving mouldy fruit to pupils as snack

Parent found suspect fruit during visit to school and posted photos on parents’ social media page

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 3:48pm

Education authorities in southwest China are investigating whether a kindergarten gave mouldy apples to pupils as snacks, mainland media reports.

The questionable fruit at a kindergarten in Yibin city, Sichuan province, drew parents’ attention after a mother visited her child during school hours last week, when bad apples were being peeled and distributed to the children for afternoon snacks, news website Thepaper.cn reported.

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The mother took photos of the mouldy, wrinkled apples and posted them on a social media page shared by other parents of pupils.

Outraged by what they saw, the parents posted the pictures online and demanded that the authorities look into the matter.

Officials from the local education bureau went the school the next day, but the issue had not been resolved by the time Thepaper.cn reported it.

A parent told the Shanghai-based news portal that the kindergarten was considered the best in the district.

“Other kindergartens charge about 3,000 yuan (US$437) per year, while this one charges more than 5,000 yuan per semester. We’re willing to pay extra because we want to provide our children with a good environment, but we did not expect they would feed such things to our kids” the parent was quoted as saying.

The school charges each student 100 yuan a month for snacks, which comes to 4.5 yuan per day.

“A rotten apple is all they get for 4.5 yuan?” the parent questioned.

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Other parents went to the school to complain the next day, but officials at the kindergarten refused to admit they handed out the suspect apples.

Instead, they blamed a supplier for delivering them, but none were given to the children. They claimed the parent who originally posted the photos found the mouldy apples in a rubbish bin.

But the parents refused to accept this explanation. The school’s director finally apologised to them and accepted their demands after hours of negotiations.

The director promised to install surveillance cameras in the classrooms within 15 days and arrange medical checkups for pupils in the coming week.

The school is also being investigated by the local food and drug administration.