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Dozens ill after monastery visit

17 May 2012 08:55

Monastery visitors were taken ill after taking tours in New York

Monastery visitors were taken ill after taking tours in New York

Scores of visitors were taken ill with suspected food poisoning after a tour bus visit to a Buddhist monastery in New York.

Lab tests on food served at the monastery are now being carried out in a bid to find out what caused 150 people to go down with sickness, diarrhoea and dehydration, leaving those without it wishing they had taken out medical travel insurance.

Some 700 people, most of whom were on tour buses from New York's Chinatown, visited the Chuang Yen monastery at Kent Cliffs for a Mother's Day celebration which included a food fair.

Many were taken ill on their tour buses after leaving the monastery while en route to a shopping mall 80 miles away.

Rebecca Wittenberg, Putnam County's public health director, said it could be up to a week before the results of the tests on a dozen foods, including spring rolls, noodles and teas, were known.

She said it was thought all the food consumed had been taken in by visitors and not made at the monastery which has expressed its ''deepest sympathies''.