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Jordan Closes 97 Facilities after Mass Food Poisoning

Jordan Closes 97 Facilities after Mass Food Poisoning

Monday, 3 August, 2020 - 06:00
A chef slices shawarma at a restaurant on 31 July 2019. EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP

The Jordanian authorities ordered on Sunday the closure of 23 food facilities and one restaurant in Amman and refered their owners to the Public Prosecution after a five-year-old boy died and over 800 people were hospitalized from food poisoning in Baqa'a Ein al-Basha region last week.

Health Minister Saad Jaber said the initial investigation showed that the source of poisoning is the supplier of meat and other foodstuff served at restaurants with meals.

“Five tons of expired meat were seized in addition to half a ton of potatoes from the supply center,” he said.

Jaber told Petra news agency on Sunday that 20 facilities in Salt, Sweileh, Ein al-Basha, and one restaurant in Amman were closed as a precautionary measure until the lab tests results are issued.

He said his Ministry instructed the formation of a crisis cell to deal with the issue and also asked the General Prosecutor to take all legal measures and hold accountable those involved in the mass poisoning.

Fifty-seven new food poisoning cases were reported in Ein Al-Basha on Sunday, Jaber noted, adding that all cases were admitted to the Prince Al-Hussein Hospital in Salt and Al-Hussein Hospital in Ein Al-Basha.

Director General of Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) Nizar Mhidat said a lab test had shown bacteria in the meat and poultry.

Test results showed that the chicken is not safe for human consumption due to the presence of dense bacterial growth caused by poor storage conditions at meat warehouses and a failure to follow JFDA guidelines for high-risk materials, which require storage temperatures not to exceed five degrees Celsius.

Legal measures were taken and all violators were transferred to the Public Prosecutor for legal action.

Petra said the meat distributor turned himself in at Ein al-Basha police station on Sunday.

Seven people were arrested in relation to the mass food poisoning incident in Ein al-Basha.

The owner of the restaurant and six of his employees were charged with four offences causing harm, handling food in unsuitable conditions that made it harmful to human health, handling food that is not safe for human consumption and practicing a craft that causes harm.

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