Food poisoning: 200 people fall ill, Delhi govt orders probe

New Delhi: Around 200 people fell ill here on Tuesday after consuming food articles prepared from contaminated buck wheat, following which the Delhi Government ordered a probe into the incident.

Police detained 10 people in connection with the incident, which took place in east and north-east Delhi localities, and warned citizens not to buy buck wheat from open sack.

A senior police official said a total of 187 people -- 107 in east Delhi and 80 in north-east Delhi -- were admitted to various hospitals in the city.

Locals in Nandnagri, Gokalpuri, Jagatpuri, Gandhinagar, Kalyanpuri, Trilokpuri and Chilla Gaon were the most affected.

It all started at 7 am when patients complaining of vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea, and dizziness started pouring in different hospitals including Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Dr Hedgewar Hospital.

"Nandu Masala Mill in Mandoli is found to be the manufacturer of the kuttu flour (buck wheat) consumed by the victims. Some persons have been detained in this connection. Raids are being conducted," Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

Locals alleged the mill owner was close to senior politicians.

A doctor with Lal Bahdur Shastri hospital said, "A number of people have been admitted since morning in our hospital. All have been diagnosed of food poisoning. However, none of them are serious. We have discharged a few of them."

Since we are running short of beds we have refereed some to GTB and other hospitals. "After inquiring from patients we found all have consumed food made from buckwheat as this is a compulsory ritual for the ongoing Navratra festival," a doctor with GTB hospital said.

Bhagat said the victims had purchased the buck wheat from open sack in retail.

"People are advised to check the expiry date of the packet containing Kuttu flour and the name of flour mills before using it. People are also advised not to purchase kuttu flour from open sack," Bhagat said.

The District Administration and emergency services have been alerted and teams of Food and Adulteration Department have been put in service, he said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister A K Walia directed K S Singh, Director, Prevention of Food Adulteration to conduct the probe into the incident. "Strong action would be taken against the guilty," he said.

Officials from Prevention of Food Adulteration department also conducted raids in various markets and lifted samples of wheat and other food articles. Walia said PFA has been told to lift samples in large number from East Delhi and other areas.