India eatery owner arrested in food poisoning case
The owner and chief cook of an eatery in the southern Indian state of Kerala have been arrested in connection with the death of a customer allegedly due to food poisoning.
A nurse who worked in Kottayam district had ordered the food online.
Police said 21 others also fell ill after eating food from the eatery.
Police have invoked charges of culpable homicide against the owner and the cook. They are in custody and have not yet commented on the allegations.
The incident is among a spate of food poisoning cases in the state that have led to concerns about safety of restaurant food.
Rashmi Raj, a nurse at the Kottayam Medical College, was admitted to hospital on 30 December after falling ill from eating a rice dish and barbecued chicken that she had ordered from the eatery. She succumbed to her illness on 2 January.
According to local news reports, a preliminary post-mortem indicated she had died due to an infection in her internal organs.
Several others who ate food from the same restaurant also reported ill.
Police say their investigation has confirmed food poisoning as the cause of the nurse's death and that the quality of food served at the restaurant was "poor".
Food poisoning cases were also reported in other parts of the state last week.
In Pathanamthitta district, several students and parents fell ill after eating food served at a school event.
In the same district, nearly 100 people fell sick after eating food served at a baptism.
Since then, food safety officials have raided over 500 eateries across the state. Forty-eight eateries have been suspended for operating in unsanitary conditions or without a proper licence.
Officials say the inspections are expected to continue.
Similar raids had been conducted in May 2022 when a 16-year-old died and several others fell sick after eating at a snack bar in Kasargod district.
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