Health Minister Veena George said pathogenic salmonella was detected in pepper powder kept in the eatery where one girl died and 58 people fell ill.

Ideal food outlet in Kerala's Kasaragod, involved in food poisoning case: Salmonella, shigella found in shawarma samples
news Food poisoning Sunday, May 08, 2022 - 10:39

Pathogenic salmonella and shigella were detected in the 'shawarma' samples collected from an eatery in Kerala's Kasaragod district where around 58 people fell ill and a young girl died after consuming the dish on May 1, the state health department said on Saturday, May 7.

In a statement, Health Minister Veena George said pathogenic salmonella was detected in pepper powder kept in the eatery and these samples are certified 'unsafe' under the Food Safety and Standards Act. While Shigella is one of the leading bacterial causes of diarrhea worldwide and is an intestinal infection caused by a family of bacteria, Salmonella infection (salmonellosis) is a common bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract.

Devananda, the 16-year-old girl from Karivallor near Kasaragod, died at the Kanhangad district hospital last Sunday (May 1), while undergoing treatment for food poisoning. She fell ill after consuming chicken shawarma from an eatery in Cheruvathur in the northern Kerala district. Besides, around 58 people, who consumed dishes from the same eatery, fell ill, officials had said. Shawarma is thinly sliced pieces of marinated meat, like lamb, chicken or beef rolled into a flat bread.

Earlier on May 4, the officials had said that samples of five patients — who were the most symptomatic — out of all the infected persons were sent and three of the tests came back positive for the bacteria. Treating it as an outbreak of the bacteria, the health department had taken steps to control its spread and ensure that it does not happen in future.

The Kerala High Court initiated a PIL and asked the authorities concerned what steps they have taken or will take to ensure safe food is served to citizens by the eateries.

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