Nearly 200 Treated for Salmonella-linked Food Poisoning in Jordan

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 13 2007 2:35 PM

Nearly 200 people were treated for food poisoning in Jordan after eating salmonella-tainted chicken sandwiches from a fast food restaurant in a Palestinian camp, officials said Sunday.

Minister of Public Sector Development Mohammed Zuneibat told state-run Petra news agency that the government opened an investigation after 176 people were stricken from eating chicken "shawarma" sandwiches on Saturday.

"The chicken used to make the shawarma sandwich was not cooked properly and contained salmonella," Zuneibat said.

The owner of the restaurant in the Baqaa camp just north of Amman was arrested as part of the investigation, Zuneibat said, adding that the fast food outlet had passed inspections on four separate occasions last month.

Health officials meanwhile said that a 23-year-old man, Bilal Hassan, died Sunday after eating a sandwich he had bought at the shop.

But state coroner Momen Hadidi said an autopsy showed that the young man died of a heart attack.

Last year hundreds of Jordanians were treated for food poisoning after eating shawarma sandwiches, prompting the authorities to crack down on fast food restaurants.

In a related health development, Jordan's health and water ministers resigned last month following the outbreak of hundreds of cases of waterborne diarrhoea and fever.