200 suffer acute food poisoning – Spurious Mustard Oil Dealers vanish

Food Safety and Standard Authority of India food items have been making their way into Manipur as merchants out to make a fast buck having no qualms about providing adulterated edibles to the general public.

Reports state that the adulteration racket has been going on for decades and the latest case is of spurious edible oil.

Mustard oil branded “Kachchi-Ghani Tagore Mustard oil” with the caption ‘real oil for real people’ has poisoned many residents of Thanga village, Bishnupur district yesterday. The mustard oil comes in a yellow 5 liter can and the dealers have pulled the vanishing act when the food safety officer went to inquire for the agents at Thangal bazaar.

According to Padmashree Dr Bimalkumri, consultant state food safety officer, a team had gone to Thanga Island to inquire about the affected villagers and to find the cause of adulteration. They had ruled out any bacterial or viral epidemic and turned their investigation to the mustard oil possibility.

It was found that the mustard jar did not have the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) license.

“We have sent the sample of the oil for testing, but we have not been able to find the dealers. Some shops said that the oil came from Dimapur. We have seized many jars from Alu Gali. The shopkeepers need to be taken into account, we are waiting for the test result,” she told IFP.

According to reliable sources, the shelf life of mustard oil is six months. However, there is no expiry date and just tagged as ‘best before’, wholesalers do not send back the unsold batch and just change containers and with a new print of manufacture date. The source added that such mixing is carried out at godowns located at Mantripukri area.

More than 200 people including children fell sick after eating at a community feast at Thanga on Monday.

People who attended the feast had complaints of acute stomach pain, vomiting, loose motion and high fever. The victims rushed to the Thanga primary health centre and their numbers mounted over a hundred on the same day on Tuesday.

People of Thanga urged the government to send emergency medical reinforcement as the health centre is inadequate for the tackling the situation.

“Almost all the patients are serious. We condemn the silence of the government in the situation. We know that the rural health centre cannot accommodate and handle all the patients at a time. The state must reinforce medical teams immediately at Thanga before anything untoward happens to the suffering patients”, H. Kulachandra Singh, a resident of Thanga demanded.

Meanwhile, the Thanga Kendra Development Committee has urged the government and the Bishnupur district administration to take up emergency measures for providing proper medical treatment to more than 100 patients who are suffering from food poisoning and being treated at the Thanga Primary Health Centre.

Speaking at a press conference held at Manipur Press Club, Majorkhul here today, committee spokesperson H Kulachandra Singh said more than 200 persons fell ill due to food poisoning after eating adulterated food at a feast organised at Thanga Khunjem Leikai in Bisnupur district on October 31.

Around 100 of those who fell sick were admitted at Thanga Primary Health Centre next morning while the others had been shifted to various hospitals in Imphal, he said.

Due to lack of medical facilities including adequate number of doctors, paramedical staff, medicine and bed at the Primary Health Centre the doctors had referred many other patients who were admitted earlier at the PHC to hospitals in Imphal including the JNIMS and the RIMS hospital, he added.

As there was no ambulance or no transportation arrangement of the government, the patients and their relatives had to make their own arrangements for transportation and medicine without life-support system to reach the hospitals in Imphal, he rued.

The Bishnupur Chief Medical Officer came to see the patients but left after distributing some packets of oral rehydration powder to the patients, he said. Alleging that the state government and the district administration have done little for providing proper treatment to the patients and left them on their own, he said the Thanga Kendra Development Committee condemns government’s negligence in handling the emergency health situation and its indifference to the plight of the patients.

The committee has submitted a memorandum today to the chief minister urging him to make arrangements for providing treatment facilities for the helpless patients and look into the pathetic condition of health services and facilities in the Kendra including the Thanga PHC, he added.

Since checking adulterated food is the responsibility of the government and the incident amounts to state negligence, the government should take responsibility for the hardship and inconvenience faced by the patients and their relatives and make adequate compensation to them, he demanded.

Besides demanding for posting adequate number of doctors and paramedical staff at the Thanga PHC we also demand adequate number of beds and space for enabling proper treatment of the patients at the health centre, he further added.

Source: Imphal Free Press

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