Tuesday, September 12, 2006

700 people suffer from food poisoning

This happened in Zarqa, where apparently a well known shawerma franchise seems to have been the source. According to the minister of health, 80% of the patients have now left the hospital (leaving about 140 still suffering). Similar incidents have happened this summer, although not at this scale. In the previous times, poor storage of mayonnaise has been blamed. Mayonnaise is relatively new to Jordan, but this does not excuse the fact that restaurant operators should know that it is easily perishable. It is sometimes kept in vats on the counter, uncooled. Duh. I personally think that falafel is a better bet.

Anyway, restaurants are monitored by the municipality and the ministry of health, each with its separate inspections. Some have suggested that monitoring in Zarqa and other towns might be less stringent than in Amman. I am not sure this is true, but health monitors might be easily bribed with a free shawerma sandwich (with extra mayo). If this is the case, I hope the inspector is one of the 140 still in the hospital.

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UPDATE: Al Arab al Yawm reports that the number has risen up to 1135 patients. But not to worry. The government will treat the patients for free and the restaurant owner has been fined 135 dinars. That should fix him.

12 Comments:

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Khalidah said...

I heard about this on the radio this morning .. this is really crazy ... a fine is certainly not enough and I second Mohammed Al Wakeel's call to the parliment to activate the law and make sure that such restaurant owners get a more proper punishment than just a fine ...

Why do people eat Shawerma that much any way ... it is all bad ..

On my way to work today; 2 restaurants in Bnayat area have had the shawerma pole ready at 8:30 in the morning ... who eats shawerma that early? I guess this is the left over of yesterday and they want to get rid of it ASAP and put a fresh one later in the day .. and the left over will be there tomorrow morning ... weird!!!

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Khalidah: In the best of circumstances, the things are loaded with fat. In the worst, it's your gamble. The question is how vigilant are the government agencies in monitoring, and how vigorous are they in punishing people who endanger the public? In the final analysis, it is the government's job to protect public health.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Roba said...

Is this different from the one in Rsayfeh or have there really been over 2000 cases of poisoning in the past couple of days?

 
At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Abdullah said...

I agree with Khalideh, although I dont buy the story, that its a storge issue becasue I have seen it when I lived in Jordan foir a while, the greedy business men will but extremely cheap food because it has expired and still sell it to people. so sometimes you can be lucky, and sometimes not.
I learned the ard way, I learned to eat at home and cook my meal from assured natural and healthy ingredient.
After All, I only have one ME, and should take care of my health. No Gov really worry about ME or US.

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Iman said...

poor storage of mayonnaise has been blamed

Which begs the question...why does shawera come with mayo?! Isn't there a special type of sauce for shawera! why has mayo taken over? :d
And while we're at it, why do falafil sandwiches come with fries? I mean, I was very surprised when I saw fries actually stuffed in the sanwiches!

who eats shawerma that early?

:d I am almost always tempted to when in Jordan - minus the mayo of course!

how vigilant are the government agencies in monitoring, and how vigorous are they in punishing people who endanger the public?

Very true...so how often are restaurants being inspected by the dept of health? and have there ever been cases in which restaurants that did not meet the dept of health criteria been shut down as a result?

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger Abu Shreek said...

Khalaf, Do you know what’s the name of that “franchise” shawarma place? I think it has to be made public.

 
At 2:17 AM, Blogger issam said...

You are not serious about the fine amount? The place should be closed at least.

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi guys: I have been away, so sorry for the lack of replies.

Roba: Same as in Russeifa (Yajouz, actually.

Abdullah: Smart approach. I don't blame you.

Iman: People love mayo. Especially if they arn't interested in their health. Of course, that goes with most forms of fast food.

Abu Shreek: Sorry, I don't know.

Isam: They have shut him down. I am not sure for how long, though.

 
At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

khalaf, this seems to be a problem in the US (with food poisoning). Fresh spinach has been pulled off the shelves of grocery stores all over the US due to bacteria in it (E. Coli), which has killed one person and made many others very sick. Very unfortunate whenever is happens! Makes me want to just cook at home and cook everything to death! lynne

 
At 5:10 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Spinach loses much of it's nutrional value if you over cook it. The best way to kill bacteria is to irradiate it.

Ha ha ha.

Cheers, Lynn!

 
At 4:39 AM, Anonymous Omar said...

Iman, you'll find it's not really mayo that the ppl use and love, but the garlic mayo. I personally love the garlic sauce with shawarma, add's to the taste. One more thing, the virus that hit all those people was Salmonella, so it's more likely that the meat wasnt cooked properly before shipping. Ironically i ate shawarma yesterday (first day they removed the ban) becuase my mates and I completely forgot about the ban, and now i've had the worst stomache problems for the past two days.. i'd advise everyone stays clear for a while!

 
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