Some youth in the Berekum municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, demolished a popular fast food joint in the town, the Emmanuel Fast Food, following a suspected food poisoning case levelled against the proprietor of the joint, Mr Emmanuel Osei Kumi.
The action of the youth stemmed from the fact that 34 people in the municipality who were said to have bought and eaten fried rice from the food joint on February 14, 2010 were said to have taken ill after eating the said fried rice.
The 34 people, who reported of severe abdominal pains, diarrhoea and vomiting, were treated at and discharged from the Berekum Holy Family Hospital and other health facilities in and around Berekum and their ailments were said to have resulted from the fried rice they ate, according to a report from the hospital.
No casualty was recorded but two of the victims were still on admission and responding to treatment when the Daily Graphic team visited the hospital on Thursday.
According to the acting Berekum Municipal Director of Health Services, Mr Samuel Opoku, who confirmed the incident to the Daily Graphic, that was the second time a suspected case of food poisoning had been made against the same fast food joint.
He stated that the first case, which involved about 78 people who had reported of food poisoning after eating fried rice from the joint, occurred in October 2009.
He stated that in the first incident, which had been reported to his outfit by Dr Attu, the police took up the matter and arrested Mr Kumi.
Mr Opoku said the police took samples of the food alleged to have been eaten by the victims to the Ghana Standards Board for testing but the report proved negative.
He said based on the report, his outfit conducted thorough investigations into the case, visited the place where the food had been prepared and later met with the proprietor of the joint and urged him to take the necessary food safety and other health-related measures to forestall a recurrence.
He said before the Valentine’s Day incident, the municipal health directorate, based on concerns raised over the food joint by some residents in December 2009, wrote to the owner to stop operating, copies of which letters were sent to the police, but he defied the orders and continued with his business until the Valentine’s Day incident.
He said information gathered was that the owner of the joint claimed the police report had proved negative and he had also instituted legal proceedings in court so there was no way he could be prevented from operating till the final determination of the case.
Mr Opoku said the health directorate had commissioned an investigation into the latest case.
Meanwhile, the youth who took the action said they did so since the authorities and the police had failed to take any steps to stop the owner of the fast food joint from operating, even in the face of compelling evidence.
Efforts to get the owner of the joint for his comments proved futile, as this reporter was told he had left town after the incident.