8 dead, 100 ill after consuming pork in India

The Hindustan Times reports that Ri-Bhoi district magistrate has ordered a magisterial inquiry to ascertain what caused the deaths. Villagers claimed the consumption of pork led to the tragedy

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Eight children in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district have died of suspected food poisoning and over 100 others are undergoing medical treatment, an official said on Tuesday.

The children died after consuming pork after attending a church gathering on Sunday at Nongkya village, Ri-Bhoi district magistrate Chinmay P Gotmare told IANS. “Three persons died on Monday and another five on Tuesday morning in hospitals,” he said.

Gotmare said he had ordered a magisterial inquiry to ascertain what caused the deaths. Villagers claimed the consumption of pork led to the tragedy.

Everyone has a camera, India restaurant edition

Tanu Kulkarni writes in The Hindu, the next time you spot a pani puri wala using unhygienic water or find that the food in your school canteen is not fresh, take a photograph or a video of the food safety violation and send it on WhatsApp to the Department of Health and Family Welfare and your complaint is as good as registered.

The department has decided to work with resident welfare associations (RWAs) in the city to spread awareness about safe and unsafe food and also look into complaints pertaining to food safety. Subodh Yadav, Commissioner of the department, said active volunteers will also be given an identity card so that they are taken seriously. The department’s local officials will be given a three day deadline to attend to the complaint. Apart from flagging off the department about these complaints, citizens can also raise awareness about food safety practices among others.

RWAs have welcomed the move. Nitya Reddy, vice-president, Richmond and Langford Town Residents’ Welfare Association, termed it a much needed one. “It will be great if the Health Department ropes in RWAs as we will be able to point out to unhygienic neighbourhood eateries, restaurants, and roadside vendors. We can be in constant touch with them and help them monitor food quality.”

So much for fish and chips: India’s food safety types warn against newspaper-packed foods

Warning: food wrapped in newspapers could be slow poison.

Using newspapers to wrap, pack or serve food is a safety hazard, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India declared this week.

fish-chips-newspaperNewspapers are often used by roadside vendors, small hotels and even in homes in lieu of absorbent papers. The food regulatory body has warned that cancer-causing agent and microbes could be slowly poisoning consumers of much food that has been in contact with newspapers.

Foods contaminated by newspaper ink could be dangerous because ink has multiple bioactive materials that are known to have negative health effects, the FSSAI said in its advisory on the subject. Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives and preservatives. Newspapers could also harbor pathogenic microorganisms that could contaminate food. Newspapers, paper or cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with metallic contaminants, mineral oils and harmful chemicals like the phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity.

 

Brucella Free Villages: India says raw (milk) is risky

Neetu Chandra Sharma of DNA India reports the government has geared up following new outbreaks down South India. In a bid to curb cases of Brucellosis, a bacterial disease affecting cattle like cow and buffalo and causing undulant fever in humans, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology has come up with a pilot project called “Brucella Free Villages”.

brucellosis-cattle-indiaBrucellosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Brucella. Brucellosis is also an important zoonotic disease of worldwide importance; people acquire the infection by consuming unpasteurized milk and other dairy products, and by coming in contact with the contaminated animal secretions and tissues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis is transmitted to humans from animals through direct contact with infected materials like afterbirth or indirectly by ingestion of animal products and by inhalation of airborne agents. Consumption of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk is the major source of infection in humans.

In humans, brucellosis can cause range of symptoms that are similar to the flu and may include fever, sweats, headache, back pain and physical weakness. Severe infections of the central nervous system or lining of the heart may also occur.

Doctors say that often brucellosis is diagnosed after ruling out all other fevers such as those caused by malaria, typhoid, dengue etc. Therefore, the disease is under reported and many medical professionals are not even aware of the problem. It is estimated that the disease causes economic losses of about Rs 28,000 crores.

“There is an urgent need for addressing this important issue of not only livestock health and production, but also public health. India is the world’s largest milk producer and hosts around 20 per cent of the world’s livestock population,” said Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Three children in India die after consuming meat cooked by mother on Diwali

It was Diwali and the Phulmali family simply wanted to put something special on the dinner table for their kids. But they had no idea that they had just served death to three of their children.

2phulmali-1As the kids — three boys and two girls — enjoyed a special dinner of chicken curry on Monday night, they discussed their plans to wear matching clothes the next day to celebrate Bhai Dooj. Instead, that very meal separated them forever.

The youngest three — Anil (8), Sairaj (6) and Dhanraj (4) – died of food poisoning yesterday, while the girls, Gauri (12) and Pooja (10), are still ill.

It came out of the sky: Human poop falls over India

A former senior army man has moved the National Green Tribunal alleging dumping of human waste by aircraft over residential areas near the IGI airport in Delhi, which led the green panel to order an inspection of his South Delhi house.

unknownLt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya has sought criminal proceedings against commercial airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming the act as violation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Noting the submissions of the petitioner, the green panel directed Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to depute a senior environmental engineer to inspect his house and check the existence of human excreta on the walls.

It also asked CPCB that if excreta was found, samples should be collected for analysis and the report placed before the tribunal.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notices to the Ministries of Environment and Forests and Civil Aviation and CPCB, seeking their replies within two weeks.

Plane toilets store human waste in special tanks. These are normally disposed of by ground crew once the plane lands, but aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times. There have been instances, including in India, when people have been injured.

Salmonella in seafood in Kochi

A survey carried out by a team of scientists of the Microbiology, Fermentation and Biotechnology Division of Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) Kochi, found Salmonella in 29 per cent of seafood samples.

seafood-kochiDuring the screening process, the researchers collected as many as 150 fresh seafood samples including popular varieties like sardine, mackerel, prawns and crabs from the markets in and around Kochi.

The study was conducted by a team of scientists including S.S. Greeshma, M.M. Prasad, K.V. Lalitha, Toms C. Joseph, and V. Murugadas.

The presence of salmonella in seafood indicates contamination with human and animal excreta. Fishes and shellfish normally do not harbour micro-organisms like salmonella but can get contaminated with through the use of contaminated ice, water, containers and poor hygienic handling practices, explained Dr. Greeshma.

Samples were collected over a period of nine months. Once salmonella reaches soil and aquatic environments, it can survive there for long periods.

While cooking kills the micro-organism, there exists the risk of cross-contamination with other food items that are consumed raw when handled along with seafood contaminated with salmonella.

Humans who come into direct contact with salmonella-contaminated seafoods face health risk, she explained.

The study underscores the need to hygienic handling of fish in the markets, said C.N. Ravishankar, Director of the Institute in a communication.

The researchers are planning a source study to identify the routes and points of possible contamination of the fish.

Woman in north India says she was raped ‘for eating beef’

The world is going through an extremist phase.

religious-extremism-1-728Everywhere.

A Muslim woman in north India says she was gang raped after her attackers accused her of eating beef.

The woman, 20, from Haryana state’s Mewat district said four men sexually assaulted her and a cousin, 14, two weeks ago even though they denied they had eaten beef.

The accused also beat her uncle and aunt to death and injured four family members.

“They asked if we eat beef. We said we don’t, but they insisted we did,” the woman told Indian network NDTV.

India’s Hindu majority regard cows as holy, and their slaughter is banned in several regions.

In recent months, right-wing Hindu fringe groups have led campaigns and vigilante actions targeting Muslims and low-caste Dalits over alleged cattle slaughter and beef consumption.

 

Who knew? India bans silver leaf of animal origin in food items

Sushmi Deyl of The Times of India reports the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned the use of any material of animal origin in silver leaf (chandi ka warq), commonly used in confectionaries and sweets like barfi for decoration and also in pan and packaged supari.

silver.leafAccording to sources in the ministry, the move comes in the wake of concerns over use of intestines of cows and buffaloes in making these thin strips of silver. “The silver leaf is prepared by placing small thin strips of silver between the intestines of cows and buffaloes and continuously hammering these bundles for up to eight hour a day till desired thickness of silver leaf is achieved,” an official said. He said the process was found to be offensive and unhygienic posing potential risk to consumers. Moreover, such silver sheets do not carry any green dot or maroon dot. Hence, consumers fail to differentiate between a vegetarian and non-vegetarian product.

There were also concerns that the silver leaf contained heavy metal traces such as nickel, lead, chromium and cadmium – which are harmful for health.

70 students with suspected food poisoning in India

About 70 students of G. V. Raja Sports School at Mailam, Thiruvananthapuram, were taken ill and 27 of them admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) here since the early hours on Saturday following suspected food poisoning.

maxresdefaultThe general condition of the students currently under treatment in the wards is satisfactory, MCH authorities said.

Four of the affected students have been admitted to the Peroorkada government hospital. Some students have been kept under observation there while several others were sent back after observation as their condition was satisfactory

Following the directive of the Designated Officer of Food Safety, a special squad of food safety officials from the district inspected the school mess and after collecting samples of the food items to be sent for lab analysis, ordered that the mess be closed down temporarily.

Director of Public Instruction K. V. Mohankumar, in a statement here, said that the school will remain closed till August 3 as the food safety wing has instructed that the mess be closed temporarily.