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Riyadh experiences a wave of food poisoning cases with 20 people still in intensive care

Sat 25 May 2024    
| 2 min read

Riyadh: The Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has discovered troubling efforts to hide or destroy evidence and potential collusion among food inspectors following the recent food poisoning incident in Riyadh.

In response, the authority is intensifying its investigations and has pledged that severe accountability measures will be enforced against any negligent officials, including those whose failed or delayed actions contributed to the incident or hindered the response to its consequences.

Following royal directives, a high committee has been established to ensure strict adherence to these accountability measures. The King and the Crown Prince are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the need for swift and transparent actions to protect public health and safety.

Nazaha assured the public that the incident has been fully contained and that strict measures will be taken against anyone compromising public safety or obstructing the investigation.

“Reassuring every citizen and resident that the incident has been contained and overcome, the authority confirms that accountability measures will be taken against anyone found to be negligent in ensuring public safety and health, or who engages in actions aimed at obstructing the investigation and concealing facts related to the causes of the poisoning,” stated Nazaha.

Initial investigations revealed possible malpractices, including attempts by some unscrupulous food inspectors to benefit personally at the public’s expense. These individuals reportedly tried to hide or destroy evidence related to the poisoning.

The source of the poisoning was identified as contaminated mayonnaise containing “Clostridium botulinum” from the BON TUM brand, used at Hamburgini restaurant. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, in coordination with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, promptly halted the distribution of the implicated mayonnaise and began a recall. Production at the involved manufacturing facility has been suspended to enforce necessary safety standards.

Comprehensive actions have included recalling all product batches across various production lines and instructing all clients of the facility to discard any remaining stock. These measures are part of larger efforts by local authorities to improve food safety monitoring and regulation.

The Ministry of Health reported that the situation is now under control, with no new cases reported as of late. Of the 75 initially affected, 43 individuals have fully recovered. However, 20 remain in intensive care, and there has been one fatality. The Ministry continues to provide medical care and closely monitor the situation, urging the public to rely on official sources for accurate information.

Also read: UK Tightens Controls on Indian Spice Imports Due to Contamination Concerns

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