SAPPORO (Kyodo) A suspected case of food poisoning in Hokkaido caused 840 elementary and junior high school students to miss class after eating lunch last week, local officials said Monday.

Fifteen teachers and other staff at the schools in Iwamizawa also exhibited food poisoning symptoms, they said.

The officials initially reported that 925 students were absent in connection with the case, but that figure had been inflated by students who stayed home because of flu and other illnesses.

Health authorities suspect salmonella is to blame but haven’t determined exactly what it was that made everyone sick, they said.

The students started exhibiting symptoms of food poisoning on Friday. The lunches under suspicion had been cooked at the school on the previous day and were prepared for about 3,100 students. The items included potato miso soup, salad made from “komatsuna” (a spinachlike vegetable), and radish with ground meat, the officials said.

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