KASARAGOD: In a case of suspected food poisoning, a 16-year-old schoolgirl died and around 30 others fell sick allegedly after eating rotten shawarma from a snacks bar at Cheruvathur in Kasaragod. The deceased is Devananda, a Class X student of AV Smaraka Government Higher Secondary School, Karivellur, in Kannur.
Following her death, Chandera police sealed Ideal Cool Bar and Food Point and took two of its workers — Sandesh Rai and Anex M — into custody. The owner, identified as Ahmed, is absconding, said an officer. The snacks bar does not possess a food safety licence, it is learnt.
Devananda is the only child of E V Prasanna of Karivellur-Perlam panchayat in Kannur. Her father Narayanan died five months ago, said Perlam ward member P V Rameshan. After that, the mother-daughter duo moved to the house of Prasanna’s elder sister at Mel-Matlayi in Cheruvathur, he said. Devananda was also planning to join a school in Cheruvathur. However, poor food safety measures allegedly claimed her life and pushed several other young lives to the edge.
District medical officer A V Ramdas said the 31 patients who were admitted to the District Hospital said they had eaten chicken shawarma from Ideal on April 29 or 30. Most of them were in the age group of 10 to 15 years.
All students admitted to hosp are stable: Doctor
Around 10 am on Sunday, 15 students from Cheruvathur and neighbouring Pilicode panchayats came to Cheruvathur Community Health Centre complaining of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever since Saturday. The students told the duty doctors that they had chicken shawarma on the afternoon of April 29 at Ideal.
The condition of Devananda started deteriorating and around 1.30 pm, she collapsed. “She was shifted to the District Hospital in an ambulance with IV line and oxygen,” said Dr Ramdas. She died soon after. The DMO then asked all the patients being treated for food poisoning to be shifted to the District Hospital.
They had low blood pressure, fever, loose stools and stomach ache. After the initial 15 students, 15 other customers of Ideal got admitted with symptoms of food poisoning. “All of them are stable now,” Dr Ramdas said.
More doctors were posted at Cheruvathur CHC to attend to cases of food poisoning, if the need arises, said the DMO. All the three accused are facing charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304), attempt to commit culpable homicide (Section 308), selling adulterated food (section 272), read with Section 34.