A five-year-old child is dead and 700 other people have been hospitalized in Jordan with mass food poisoning after eating shawarma at a restaurant in the town of Ain al-Basha, north of the capital Amman, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.
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Investigations revealed that the meat and chicken shawarma had been prepared without using a refrigeration unit in an “unhealthy environment and without adhering to the health requirements and the minimum levels of general safety,” the official Jordan News Agency reported citing a ministry press release.
Laboratory tests also found that bacteria in meat and poultry products at the restaurant, according to the ministry’s statement.
The restaurant was immediately shut down following investigations and the restaurant owner is in police custody, AFP reported citing local media.
The restaurant was reportedly running a promotional offer in which one shawarma costs one Jordanian dinar ($1.40) instead of 1.85 dinar ($2.61) which caused an increase of customers, according to AFP.
The health minister confirmed that most cases are in stable condition and that a few have a moderate level of illness.
Following the incident, the health ministry urged people to avoid eating exposed food and to stay away from gatherings, and to avoid going out during hot afternoon hours.