The food that killed two children
Last weekend, two minor brothers aged 1.5 and 5 years lost their little lives to ‘food poisoning’, while their mother was hospitalised, undergoing treatment after eating at a famous resturant in the metopolis.
Karachi, Pakistan’s city of lights and well-known economic hub was no longer a source of light for family of the deceased children.
Two minor brothers died on Sunday afternoon from ‘food poisoning’ after which the authorities sealed a restaurant in the metropolis, said Karachi Police.
SSP South Pir Muhammed Shah said the victims’ mother was also hospitalised and was under treatment.
“Two minor brothers namely Ahmad, one and half year old, and Muhammad, five, died from food poisoning on Sunday afternoon,” said SSP Shah.
According to the police, the family had dined out the previous night at Arizona Grill restaurant located in Defence Housing Authority’s (DHA) Zamzama area and afterwards, had consumed candy from a shop outside Chunky Monkey amusement park located in Phase IV, DHA.
Police initiated a probe into the matter and the restaurant was sealed for forensic investigation.
The bodies of both minor brothers have so far not been brought to any government hospital to fulfill legal formalities and to ascertain the exact cause of their death, said Police Surgeon Dr Aijaz Khokhar.
Additional Inspector General (AIG) Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh told Dawnthat he has directed the police to get post-mortem examination results as the cause of death was still not certain.
A senior medico-legal official, who wished not to be named, told Dawnthat in such cases of purported food poisoning, crucial evidence is often lost as doctors at private hospitals tend to wash the stomach of affected patients.
Quoting the mother, the city police chief said that the kids reached home at 2am and they started vomiting at 6am. Relatives present in the house took them to the hospital at 2:45pm. AIG Amir said that food poisoning tends to affect the body within four hours of its consumption.
Police investigators took samples of the children’s blood, urine, and of vomit from dustbin and clothes. These samples will be sent to Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) for testing, according to the police.
While speaking to Dawn, police revealed that the children had also consumed milk at home, samples of which had also been collected.
The mother in her statement to the police said that the candy which the children had bought from a shop outside the amusement park in DHA had a “strange flavour”. Therefore, the police have also taken eight samples from the candy shop.
CM, governor take notice
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and sought a report from the city commissioner. The commissioner was also directed to make every possible effort to save the life of the mother.
CM Shah instructed that a report be submitted of the last time the two facilities underwent an inspection, with details of the inspection mechanism clearly outlined. He also issued instructions for the identification of government institutions whose negligence could have contributed to this incident.
Meanwhile, Sindh IG Kaleem Imam also took notice of the incident after it was reported on various media outlets. The Sindh police chief sought a detailed report from SSP Shah to be submitted at the earliest.
Subsequently, Sindh Food Authority Director Operations Ibrar Shaikh visited the eatery and submitted an initial report to the CM, stating that they took 12 food samples from the restaurant and sealed it.
The food authority gave a notice to the restaurant to “improve” their hygiene conditions, said the chief minister’s spokesperson, Rasheed Channa, adding that the CM had directed the food authority to start inspection of all restaurants in the city.
The authorities also obtained CCTV footages of both places from 4pm to midnight for investigation purposes.
The author is an IR graduate and is an aspiring journalist.