Two dead, hundreds affected by chicken contamination in Jordan

Photo/Shutterstock
Short Url
Updated 04 August 2020

Two dead, hundreds affected by chicken contamination in Jordan

  • The As-Salt attorney general’s office said that the owner of the warehouse that distributed the chickens has been remanded to the As-Salt prison for a week

AMMAN: When Abeer Saeed, 40 years old, and her family wanted a shawarma sandwich, they did not expect to end up in the local hospital. Saeed and her husband, two daughters and a niece live in Baqaa camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan.

Talking to Arab News from a hospital bed, she said that soon after eating the chicken shawarma, she felt feverish, with sharp pain and diarrhea. The same symptoms were experienced by all other family members as they headed to the local hospital only to find tens of others suffering from what was believed to be food poisoning.
Mohammad Abed, director of the local Prince Hussein hospital in Ain Al-Basha, told reporters that a 5-year-old child arrived at the hospital with major organ failure. A married man who was unable to find available hospital beds was sent home, but his condition deteriorated, and he passed away.
Prime Minister Omar Razzaz appointed a high-level investigative committee headed by several ministers, including Minister of Research and Higher Education Muhyieddeen Touq, president of the Jordan University of Science and Technology and deputy head of the Royal Scientific Society. The committee was given wide powers to investigate the cause of the problem and to recommend solutions.
Health Minister Saad Jaber said that the child, along with 700 others, had been affected by food poisoning after consuming contaminated chickens. The As-Salt attorney general’s office said that the owner of the warehouse that distributed the chickens has been remanded to the As-Salt prison for a week.
Nizar Mhaidat, head of Jordan’s Food and Drug Administration, said that lab tests showed that the uncooked chicken used for the shawarma sandwich was affected by Enterococcus faecalis and campylobacter/bacillus cereus bacteria.
Mhaidat said that food inspectors made 500 field visits in which 316 warnings were issued and 74 food enterprises were stopped. In addition, 23 locations were permanently closed with red wax as a result of serious food violations.

FASTFACT

Food inspectors made 500 field visits in which 316 warnings were issued and 74 food enterprises were stopped.

He added that 8,500 kg of unusable food have been destroyed and that 59 laboratory specimens were checked in locations throughout Jordan, concluding that the center involved in exporting meat and chicken was the main cause of the food poisoning in Baqaa. Jordan Food and Drug Administration officials confirm that they have no offices in the Baqaa area where the incidents occurred despite the fact that over 100,000 people live in a very cramped facility.
Senior health experts, however, have told Arab News that what happened was not food poisoning but rather contamination.
“What we have here is a clear case of food contamination, possibly as a result of a lack of supervision of the food chain,” a senior health source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Arab News.
The source said that Jordan’s food safety standards are compatible with international and, specifically, European standards. The problem appears to be with the partial relaxation of the supervision of the food chain, most likely because health inspectors are overburdened in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical experts in Jordan are confident that the current crisis will pass and that stricter supervision mechanisms will be installed to ensure that the public is protected.


Dubai penalizes businesses flouting coronavirus safety protocols

Updated 40 min 42 sec ago

Dubai penalizes businesses flouting coronavirus safety protocols

DUBAI: The Dubai government has penalized 22 commercial establishments for flouting coronavirus safety protocols and risking the heath of customers and staff.

Six of those who have been issued fines were bodybuilding gyms, while some were engaged in retail, textile and fabrics, sewing and embroidery, building materials and general trade, state news agency WAM reported.

The common violations incurred included employees’ lack of commitment to wearing masks and breach of physical distancing guidelines.

Field inspection teams also warned two other businesses for their failure to place the mandatory physical distancing stickers inside their shops.

Compliance is critical to the gradual return to safe and normal commercial activity that Dubai has achieved, leading to the opening of all sectors and the economic reset in the emirate, a statement from the Dubai Economy said.

Stern action will be taken against any non-compliance found during its inspections, or that may be reported by consumers and the public, it added.