“It was a chocolate cake. We thought it tasted bitter because of the flavour,” said Neelam, adding that the three first went to a private doctor on Wednesday but had to get admitted when their condition worsened.(Representational Image)
AT LEAST 35 people have been hospitalised due to food poisoning since Wednesday after they attended a birthday party at a Dahisar West chawl on Tuesday. Among those admitted, five are minors.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday collected samples of the leftover cake and biryani served at the party held at Kandarpada chawl, where the birthday of one-year-old Aaradhya Singh was celebrated.
Chawl residents said the cake, which they claimed was stale and adulterated, was cut around 10.30 pm. It was followed by biryani in dinner. “The cream on the cake tasted bitter so I didn’t eat much. But my grandson ate an entire piece,” said Meena Shetty, whose 15-year-old grandson Yash Kandre was rushed to Bhagwati hospital in Borivali on Thursday morning. Her daughters, Neelam Naralkar and Rajashri Kandre, also remain hospitalised.
“It was a chocolate cake. We thought it tasted bitter because of the flavour,” said Neelam, adding that the three first went to a private doctor on Wednesday but had to get admitted when their condition worsened.
Arjun Singh, father of Aaradhya, said he had invited over 50 guests and ordered a 5-kg cake from a newly opened bakery, Manav Cake Shop, in the locality. “The cake was made in a workshop in Borivali and sold at the Dahisar shop. I have handed over the leftover cake to the FDA and the police,” Arjun said.
While Aaradhya did not eat the cake, her mother Ekta did and started vomiting within four hours. “I started vomiting from 5 am on Thursday. Several neighbours were also sick. We all came to Bhagwati hospital together,” Ekta, who remains admitted, said.
While 27 people were admitted in Bhagwati hospital until Thursday, four each were admitted in Bandra Bhabha hospital and Rajawadi hospital. Singh said he had invited guests from Khar and Andheri. “Thankfully, not many children ate the cake. Their condition is more serious than adults,” he added.
Dahisar corporator Sheetal Mhatre said that while Manav Cake Shop had procured a license from FDA to operate, it did not have any license from the fire department and the BMC health department. “Last month, BMC had issued a notice the shop, but it failed to comply. I raised this issue in the corporation today,” Mhatre said.
In Bhagwati hospital, at least three wards are currently occupied by residents of Kandarpada. An on-duty doctor said they have all been put on intravenous drip and required stomach wash. “On Thursday, 12 people were admitted. All are stable,” he added. Dr Pradeep Jadhav, in-charge of peripheral hospitals, said the patients would be kept under observation for a day or two.
Shashikant Kekare, Joint Commissioner (Food), FDA, said: “We will send the food samples for tests.” Police, meanwhile, await the FDA report. Pandit Thackeray, senior Inspector of MHB Colony police station, said: “We are investigating the cake shop and also the ingredients that Singh used to cook the biryani... We have spoken to the owner of the cake shop and would record statements of those who consumed the food once they recover.” No complaint has been registered so far, he added.
With parents Jyoti and Rahul Soni admitted at Bhagwati hospital, their children, aged two and one, are under the care of their aunt. “Both got admitted yesterday night. The loose motions and vomiting did not stop,” said Geeta Dodhia, Rahul’s sister.
Baby More, whose son Krishna More (30), remains in hospital, said chawl residents have been going to local doctor for treatment since Wednesday. “Most fell ill on Wednesday morning. A few got better at home on medication. But everyone who ate the cake fell ill. I ate only the biryani and did not feel a thing,” she added.
(with inputs from Srinath Rao)