Cape Town probing suspicions that contaminated chicken killed children

2017-04-05 18:26
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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is probing the chain of events that led to the deaths of two children this week, apparently after they ate chicken that is suspected to have been contaminated, an official said on Wednesday.

The city's environmental health department will be leading the investigation as it is mandated to act in cases of suspected food poisoning, said safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

The investigation will include site visits to the home of the victims in Samora Machel, the vendor's site where the food was bought before preparation, and the farm where the vendor purchased the live chicken.

It is understood that organophosphates may have been found on meat portions, although it was not clear where they came from.

Organophosphates are most commonly used in commercial insecticides.

The group of chemicals is responsible for a number of poisonings and affects a large number of organs and physical processes, according to Toxipedia.

Condolences to family

Smith said samples of the food that was consumed were sent to various laboratories for testing.

Samples from the vendor would also be tested in the city's bacteriological laboratory.

The police said on Tuesday that they were investigating the deaths of three children, between the ages of 3 months and 6 years old. Post-mortems would confirm the cause of death.

The provincial health department said only one child had died, while three adults and three children were given medical care.

Smith would not be drawn into speculation until the lab tests and autopsy results were available.

"However, it does appear that the incident is isolated to one household as no further information or evidence has been presented to suggest that anyone else has been affected."

He extended his condolences to the family of the children and said the city would do everything it could to get the answers they needed.

Read more on:    cape town  |  health

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