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Indian Children Die After Eating Free School Meal

At least 21 children have died after eating free meals at a school in eastern India.

Officials say dozens more are in hospital after the July 16 incident at a school in Masrakh, a village 80 kilometers north of Patna.

Officials said a preliminary investigation suggests the food had traces of phosphorous, which is used to preserve rice and wheat.

The victims were all between the ages of 8 and 11.

Authorities have launched an investigation.

One food inspector has been suspended and the school headmaster is facing criminal negligence charges.

Many state governments in India have launched midday-meal programs for poor children in part to encourage children to send them to school.

Malnutrition is one of the major health concerns among Indian children.

Based on reporting by AP and Al-Jazeera