CHENNAI: Recently, the Food Safety Department of Tamil Nadu held a surprise visit to all shawarma-making shops in Kancheepuram and imposed a penalty for the unhygienic maintenance days after a girl from Kerala died and 18 others fell sick after consuming it.
When DT Next contacted experts on sudden outbreak of food poisoning cases, here is what they said:
"Any kind of protein, specifically non-vegetarian, should be consumed fresh. It should be stored in a freezer, if not bacteria can multiply and cause food poison. However, it doesn't happen in vegetarian protein items because dhal varieties are already dry. But, when it is cooked and left out a similar problem can happen," said Dr. Dharini Krishnan, a dietician.
"In the recent cases, the chicken used for Shawarma was not stored properly and it was covered with masala items and sauces. So, people who consumed it did not realize it was spoiled," she added.
Doctors also adsvised that consuming mayonnaise along with any other food makes it unhealthy. It is also advised to eat Shawarma only once or twice a month.
Consuming eatables that are kept outside without proper cover for more than three hours will lead to food poisoning. Uncooked meat should not be kept in the freezer for more than three days, experts add.
"However, this depends on the temperature too. For instance, a few hotels store meat at -40 degrees celsius, whereas other small hotels store them at room temperature only. In such cases, the hotel should ensure that meat is stored at the right temperature," said Dr Dharini.