BATU GAJAH: Members of the public here who bought food at a stall near factories here yesterday were urged to go to the hospital nearby for a health check as the food could be tainted by a chemical poison.
State executive councillor for health Mah Hang Soon said, to date, 37 people were suspected to have experienced poisoning after eating at the stall in Siputeh which had been ordered to close.
“The victims were found to have consumed food tainted with organophosphate,” he said. Organophosphates are found in pesticides such as Malathion, but are also used as solvents and plasticisers.
Mah said further investigations will be carried out at the nearby factories. “Those who have bought food at the stall and are experiencing symptoms (of poisoning) and also those who are not ill should seek examination and treatment at the nearby hospital,” he told reporters after visiting the victims of food poisoning at the Batu Gajah Hospital (HBG) today.
Mah said assistance from the police had been sought to track down all food buyers at the stall so that they could be given the examination.
Thirty-seven people, including children and seven women, aged between two and 71 years who were treated suffered vomitting and diarrhea, believed to be from food poisoning.
Twenty-four victims were discharged in the evening on the same day, nine were still being treated at HBG and four critical cases were being treated at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.
Mah also denied allegations that the food poisoning was caused by a gas leak from a factory. An inspection by the Fire and Rescue Department in the area near the stalls did not find any gas leak, he said.