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KARACHI: As the police recorded the statement of the mother of two minor brothers, who died allegedly from eating tainted food on Sunday, and doctors were awaiting results of the chemical examination report to ascertain the cause of their deaths, the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) on Tuesday claimed to have seized some 80 kilograms expired meat from a facility of the Clifton restaurant, where the victim family had had their last dinner.

A senior official of the SFA said that the restaurant, which was sealed on Sunday night after the news of two boys’ deaths emerged, had earlier denied having any facility to store its raw material. However, he said, it was found “through surveillance” of the restaurant’s staff moving “some stuff” from a nearby apartment.

“The SFA team then raided that apartment and found that it was being used as their [sealed restaurant’s] store or godown facility for their raw material,” said SFA director Abrar Sheikh. “We then seized all the available raw material. There was plenty of meat and it was quite shocking that a huge quantity of meat was expired and some had tags of a 2014 expiry date. That place has also been sealed and samples have been collected for examination.”

In another development, the police recorded the statement of the deceased children’s mother, who has been under treatment at a private hospital in Clifton. Police officials said that they were connecting the dots to reach a conclusion and among all other facts, a chemical examination report of the seized food and children’s autopsy was key to determining the exact cause of their deaths.

Two minor brothers — Ahmad, one and half years old, and Mohammad, five — died from food poisoning on Sunday afternoon. According to the police, the family had dined out the previous night at a restaurant located in Defence Housing Authority’s (DHA) Zamzama area. Afterwards they had consumed candies from a shop outside an amusement park located in Phase IV, DHA.

Police investigators took samples of the children’s blood, urine, and vomit from the dustbin and clothes. The samples will be sent to the Aga Khan University Hospital for testing, police said.

“We have sent samples of food taken from the two eateries and viscera of one of the two minors, who died after consuming tainted food, to a multinational lab in Lahore for analysis,” said an SFA official. “Total 18 samples have been collected from the restaurant. Similarly around a dozen candies and other foodstuff from one of the amusement park shops was collected and sent to the multinational lab in Lahore for chemical analysis.”

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018

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