Abu Dhabi residents hit by junk food poisoning

ABU DHABI - An increasing number of people are finding themselves in hospitals after having eaten fast food, especially pizzas. Most of the hospitals and clinics in the capital have confirmed they are attending to more than three to four cases a week.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Wed 4 Aug 2004, 10:17 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:09 PM

The quality and hygienic standards of these outlets are now being questioned as those affected have had their food from some of the more popular outlets that serve pizza.

This reporter herself had a bad experience with an outlet that had delivered an extremely salty pizza that was unfit for consumption. Obviously there was something wrong with the cheese or the chicken. Much to the customer's chagrin, the staff kept on arguing that there could be nothing wrong with the pizza though they finally did gave in and offered a replacement. But even the new pizza was as bad as the first one.

"We have found that those who eat non-vegetarian pizzas are the most affected though there have been cases triggered by consumption of burgers, shawarmas and other junk foods," said Dr Moin of the Hyderabad Medical Centre.

He also said that since the beginning of the summer, his clinic has witnessed a surge in patients hit by food poisoning.

The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach upsets, fever, extreme lethargy and weakness. Dr Viqar Azeem of Ithihad Medical Centre said that last week itself he treated more than three patients affected with diarrhoea and vomiting after having eaten pizzas. "One patient was admitted for two days and given intravenous hydratory fluids due to extreme dehydration.

Dr Rajiv Gupta of the Ahaliya Clinic also toes the same line. "One of my patients was also hit by symptoms of food poisoning after eating a pizza," said the doctor who underlined that people are heavily falling for fast food these days as there is a general notion that they are made fresh and hygienic, though considered healthy.

"Many fast food outlets in town are using recycled oil, especially those like the palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil cheaply available," he added.

Mr Luke, a senior electrical engineer who was himself affected after eating a pizza served as breakfast in his office said that some of his colleagues had also undergone the same problem.

Reacting to the complaint, Mr Hateem, Area Manager of a fast food outlet affirmed that his outlet follows strict quality standards and ruled out any possibility of compromising on quality. "We serve more than 1,500 customers daily and if there is any hanky-panky, then at least more than fifty percent of the people should have got affected," noted Hateem who asserted that pizzas may not be the reason for the problem.

"With more than 20,000 outlets across the world and 32 in UAE alone, we have a huge clientele who are satisfied with our taste and service."

However, experts contest the claim saying it is not necessary for 50 per cent of the clientele to fall sick only to prove the quality was bad. Food poisoning is a common sickness, its causes can be many and some times very microscopic, and even the swankiest of eateries can dish out a meal to cause gastroenteritis.

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