Six Chinese die after eating poison soup - report

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BEIJING, Nov 12 (Reuters) Six Chinese people, including two children, died from food poisoning after eating soup and two more remained seriously ill, local media reported today, the latest example of food safety risks facing domestic consumers.

Four males and four females collapsed yesterday with severe cramps and vomiting after eating soup balls for lunch in the central province of Hubei, the Changjiang Times reported. Two died on the spot.

The dead included a 13-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, the report said. It said the poisoning occurred at a scrap collection business but did not given any details of the cause, which officials were investigating.

But the paper quoted the father of the dead girl as saying that someone hoping to get a job at the scrap shop had sent the soup, and people there had eaten it the day before without falling ill.

China is in the middle of a nationwide campaign to improve food and product safety after a string of international scares that have tainted its export reputation.

But the government is also worried about lax safety endangering the country's own citizens. Reports of usually non-fatal food poisoning at school canteens and restaurants, especially in the countryside, are common.

Reuters SBA VP0745

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