Food of death

Published: February 23, 2019
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A joy trip to Karachi turned out to be a journey of death for a family from Quetta. The husband and wife had eaten food from an eatery in Saddar along with their five children. All the five siblings, aged between 1.5 and 10 years, died most probably from consuming the unwholesome food while their mother is in a critical condition at hospital. The incident looks like the replay of the deaths of five-year-old Muhammad and his 18-month-old brother, Ahmad, just three months back. The two siblings had consumed long-expired meat at a restaurant in upscale Zamzama neighbourhood of Karachi. The food was lab-tested and found contaminated with E.coli bacteria — the cause of the death of the two minor children.

Sadly though, no lessons were learnt from the tragic deaths of Muhammad and Ahmed. It was the Sindh Food Authority itself that had been at the centre of whole investigation into the deaths of the two children, but with the dust settling on the issue, its officials seem to have gone back into a slumber, even despite announcing a crackdown against restaurants and eateries across the city. Responsible for regulating and monitoring the food business in the province, the Sindh Food Authority has so far failed to implement rules, appoint staff and establish offices at the district and divisional level. Although the authority has a director general and director operations, there is yet no proper setup for employees at the district and divisional level.

Words fail to measure up to the feelings — of grief, anger, shock and agony — stirred up by the sheer carelessness of the authorities that have claimed the lives of small children, not just once but twice in a span of just about three months. Ours is, shamefully, a country where people even die of what actually serves as lifeline — food and water.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2019.

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