THE Berekum Municipal Health Directorate has intensified its food safety and other health-related public education campaigns following the suspected food poisoning case involving 34 people in Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region on Valentine’s Day.
The acting Municipal Director of Health Services, Mr Samuel Opoku, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, said the directorate had also commissioned a thorough investigations into the alleged food poisoning case to prevent its future occurrence.
The 34 people, who reported of severe stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting, were treated at and discharged from the Berekum Holy Family Hospital and other health facilities in and around Berekum.
It was established that their ailments were as a result of the fried rice they ate from the Emmanuel Fast Food Joint, according to a report from the hospital.
It was alleged that the 34 people were said to have bought and eaten fried rice from the fast food joint located opposite the Berekum Commercial Bank, near the Berekum roundabout on February 14, this year.
Based on that information, some concerned youth in the Berekum Municipality on February 16, 2010, demolished the fast food joint following the alleged food poisoning case levelled against the proprietor of the facility, Mr Emmanuel Osei Kumi.
No casualty was recorded but two of the victims were still on admission and were responding to treatment when the Daily Graphic visited the hospital last Thursday.
According to Mr Opoku, who also confirmed the incident to the Daily Graphic, that was the second time such a suspected case of food poisoning had been reported against the same fast food joint.
He stated that the first one, which involved about 78 people who reported of food poisoning after eating fried rice from the joint, occurred in October, last year.
Mr Opoku said he was informed by Dr Attu, the Medical Superintendent of the Holy Family Hospital, that 34 people who were alleged to have eaten fried rice from the Emmanuel Fast Food Joint on Valentine’s Day reported of severe stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting at the hospital and they were all treated and discharged on Tuesday.
He further stated that during the first incident that occurred last year which was also reported to his outfit by Dr Attu, the police took up the matter and arrested the owner of the Fast Food Joint, Mr Emmanuel Osei Kumi.
Mr Opoku said during the first incident, 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 that came out proved negative.
He said based on the report, his outfit also conducted thorough investigations into the suspected food poisoning case, visited the place where the food was 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.
Mr Opoku added that before the Valentine’s Day incident, the Municipal Health Directorate had, based on concerns raised by some residents, written to the owner to stop operating somewhere in December, last year.