Health officials will inspect all canteens in the New Territories in the next two weeks after five Lingnan College students came down with dysentery. The infections highlighted a loophole exempting school, college, office and club canteens from health regulations. The students, aged 19 to 22, who all ate at the college canteen, were infected in late February. None required hospital admission. Department of Health staff inspected the canteen on Tuesday, taking food samples and testing 30 staff. Results are expected in two days. The Provisional Regional Council yesterday unanimously carried a motion to come up with a licensing system for such canteens. 'It's been a loophole for decades because there have been virtually no controls on these food providers since the 1960s,' said council member Wong Sing-chi, who tabled the motion. A regulation exempting canteens from licensing laws was made to protect the businesses of canteen operators serving target groups rather than the public. 'Though they are inspected monthly, canteens are not prosecuted if found to be unhygienic,' Mr Wong said. 'Only their bosses - the organisations involved - will be notified. Since they are not health and hygiene experts, they will not know the problem's seriousness.' A Regional Services Department spokesman said all 267 canteens in government buildings, schools, educational institutions and private clubs in the New Territories would be inspected in the next two weeks. Lingnan College said students and staff had been informed of the infections. If the canteen was confirmed as the source of the dysentery, the college would consider refusing to renew its contract in August, Student Affairs director Rosanna Chan Yuet-ngor said. A Department of Health spokesman said there were 300 to 500 dysentery cases a year.