Only 4 scientifically proven food poisoning deaths in Kerala in 8 years, cases rare: Health Minister

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Kerala has recorded four scientifically reported deaths due to food poisoning in eight years, according to the reply furnished by Health Minister Veena George in the assembly. In response to a question by Mathew Kuzhalnadan MLA on deaths due to food poisoning, cases registered and punishment meted out to responsible persons, Veena George said that although a few deaths have been reported in the state , food poisoning death was not recorded in the report of the Medical board and postmortem report.

In another reply to M M Mani MLA, Veena George said that not all cases of food poisoning reported in Kerala have been scientifically proven and instances of food poisoning are rare in the state.

There have been four cases where cause of death was scientifically recorded as food poisoning, as per the reply. Mathew Kuzhalnadan sought details on food poisoning deaths for the period between previous government’s tenure and till date. Nine cases filed in connection with food poisoning incidents are in trial stage in different courts, the reply noted.

Between January 1 and May 31, 2024, 1402 hotels were slapped with closure notices and 48340 inspections were done. In 2023-24, 65432 inspections were conducted based on routine check, complaints and special drives. 10466 statutory samples and 37763 surveillance samples were collected and sent to analytical laboratories. The results showed that 961 samples were unsafe, 325 samples were substandard and 298 samples were misbranded. Based on reports that samples were non-conforming to the standards, 746 prosecution cases and 982 adjudication cases were filed. All these cases are in trial stage. A compouding fee of Rs 4.05 crores was collected from 9642 hotels for functioning without complying with the guidelines.

The government during the present tenure has collected a compounding fee of Rs 7.39 crores from 17450 hotels for failure in sticking to the guidelines. A woman died and around 187 persons were hospitalized in Thrissur after consuming kuzhimanthi from a hotel in May.

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