SEVEN people were rushed to hospital yesterday after collapsing with food poisoning caused by eating tuna at a college canteen.
The casualties ate tuna sandwiches at Edinburgh College’s Granton campus and rapidly took ill.
The victims suffered allergy-like reactions, prompting a massive response from the emergency services with around nine ambulances, police and environmental health vehicles called to the scene.
The college’s car park was filled with emergency vehicles, including the Scottish Ambulance Service’s “National Risk and Resilience Department”, Emergency Support Unit and Incident Command Vehicle.
Four of the casualties are believed to be from the college’s beauty department and it was wrongly believed at first they had reacted to henna used in eyebrow tinting.
But the college later confirmed that tuna sandwiches were believed to be responsible for the outbreak.
The victims are suffering from Scombroid food poisoning – which resembles an allergic reaction to tuna – and is a common type of food poisoning from eating spoiled fish.
One of the casualties, 17-year-old Shannon Murdoch, from Edinburgh, was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
She confirmed she had been diagnosed with scombroid poisoning.
Shannon, a student of sports and fitness, said the illness was a reaction to “the tuna from the canteen in college”.
She said: “There’s seven of us all got the same symptoms. I feel terrible.
“It’s supposedly not the college’s fault – it’s the people who caught the fish and left it out and it started to decay.”
She continued: “It was at lunch time but the medic’s room is in the beauty corridor.
“There’s me, two boys and four beauty girls that have it.”
Student Nial McKim, 21, also from Edinburgh, said: “I came out of my class and I saw about eight or nine ambulances.
“There were four police cars and lots of police standing outside the health and beauty department.
“I asked what was going on but they said they couldn’t say anything.”
The college said in a statement: “An isolated incident occurred this afternoon at Granton Campus of Edinburgh College, where a small number of students and staff suffered an allergic reaction.
“The incident is currently under investigation, but it is believed that this may be linked to a batch of tuna sandwiches.
“An ambulance team from Scottish Ambulance Service attended to a small number of patients on site, who responded well to treatment. Almost all have been admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, for observation.”
A Lothian and Borders police spokeswoman said earlier: “There is definitely some sort of incident going on at Telford College.
“There are reports of some sort of allergic reaction – the fire service and the ambulance are heading to this incident.”