x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Police investigate after Sharjah boy dies of suspected food poisoning

Maryan Anthony, 3, fell ill after eating snacks from a cafeteria near his home.

Maryan Anthony died after being admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital after falling ill at home.
Maryan Anthony died after being admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital after falling ill at home.

SHARJAH // Police and municipal officials in Sharjah are investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy from suspected food poisoning.

Maryan Anthony died after being admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital after falling ill at home.

"Police collected samples from the tests carried out by the hospital and samples of food from a cafeteria he visited and all are being examined in the forensic laboratory," a police spokesman said.

Maryan began vomiting a few minutes after eating snacks, including a samosa and shawarma, bought from a cafeteria near his home at around 4.30pm on Saturday, July 28, his father, Anthony Aloysius, said.

"His situation worsened every hour with stomach pains and vomiting. At 8.30pm we carried him to a private clinic which referred us to Al Qassimi Hospital that night. He died a day and a half later."

Mr Aloysius, 30, has taken his son's body home to India for burial.

"My wife and other son, who is nine years old, are all struggling to come to terms that Maryan had died," he said. "They had also both taken the snacks."

He said the family is considering hiring a lawyer to see what legal action is possible.

A spokesman from Al Qassimi Hospital said the boy died of dehydration and respiratory problems, possibly caused by food poisoning.

The spokesman called on authorities in the emirate to get strict with food inspections and awareness campaigns to teach all restaurants and cafeterias about food safety.

Sharjah Municipality announced at the start of Ramadan that it was stepping up inspections of all food outlets. Officials warned residents about eating potentially contaminated food sold by street vendors.

The Rolla, Al Nabba and Al Qassimiya areas of the emirate are well-known for stores and street vendors selling traditional pastries, pancakes, juices, desserts and dates to be eaten at iftar. Inspectors are concerned food could become contaminated if left uncovered and exposed to the heat for long periods.

Meanwhile, in Umm Al Quwain, authorities closed down three cafeterias on Monday that did not meet food safety requirements, according to Eissa Misbah, the director of the Economic Development Department.

He said that inspections of all food outlets in the emirate were continuing throughout Ramadan.

ykakande@thenational.ae