A 19-year-old girl died due to suspected food poisoning at Kasargod in Kerala on Saturday. The deceased has been identified as Anjusree Parvati, said Police.
The deceased and her family had consumed ‘kuzhi manthi’ that they ordered from a restaurant online.
After the girl and her family started showing food poisoning symptoms, she was taken to a hospital in Kasaragod on January 1 and later to Mangalore for treatment.
Last week, Rashmi, a nurse from Kottayam, died due to food poisoning after consuming Manthi.
According to her family, Rashmi had consumed Manthi from Malappuram Kuzhi Manthi-Hotel Park in Kottayam, after which she showed signs of food poisoning.
Manthi (Mandi) is a Lebanese dish, similar to biryani, that is massively popular in the middle east. In recent years, Manthi and Manthi restaurants have spread across Kerala.
Recently, there have also been reports of more Manthi-linked food poisoning cases, for which many have sought treatment.
Following Rashmi’s death, the Kerala Health Department and Food Safety Department of the local bodies have been conducting inspections across eateries in the state.
Several restaurants operating illegally and under unhygienic conditions were ordered to be shut down.
Punitive actions have also been taken against restaurants where stale food was found during the inspection.
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It was also revealed that the restaurant from where the nurse had eaten had its license cancelled last month following complaints.
The establishment was allowed to open after paying a fine of Rs 20,000.
In May 2022, Kerala witnessed similar raids by the Food Safety Department after Devananda, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, died and around 18 others fell sick after having shawarma from a snacks bar in the Kasaragod district.
While Arabian dishes like Shawarma and Manthi have become massively popular in Kerala in recent years, many have pointed out that the preparation, if not done by experts can lead to undesirable consequences.
According to food experts, the main culprit in Shawarma and Manthi-linked food poisoning cases is the poorly cooked meat and mayonnaise, which gets spoiled fast.
Following the death of Devananda in September 2022, the Kerala Health Department issued guidelines for the preparation, storage and sale of shawarma.
The guidelines state that shawarma should be kept at a temperature of four degrees Celcius, and the ingredients for shawarma should be certified by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Chicken used in the shawarma should be cooked for 15 minutes, beef should be cooked for 30 minutes and the kubboos used should have an expiry and manufacture date mentioned, it said.
The shawarma must be prepared hygienically, and the utensils and stands used must be adequately cleaned. The knife used to slice meat must also be cleaned thoroughly, and the leftovers must be removed and disposed of correctly.
Those preparing shawarmas must wear a head cap and gloves.
The fitness certificate of the food maker and the one serving it must be submitted to obtain the license.
The guidelines recommend that raw eggs are avoided for the preparation of mayonnaise served with the dish.
Mayonnaise used in shawarmas should not be stored outside at room temperature for more than 2 hours. It said that mayonnaise should be refrigerated at 4 degrees Celsius and not be used after two days.
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