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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 April 2019

Five pensioners die after suspected food poisoning at French retirement home

One of the residents who died is believed to have eaten a salad containing foie gras

French gendarmes stand at the entrance of the 'La Cheneraie' care home following the deaths of five people as a result of suspected food poisoning. Reuters
French gendarmes stand at the entrance of the 'La Cheneraie' care home following the deaths of five people as a result of suspected food poisoning. Reuters

Five elderly residents of a retirement home in France have died and 12 are in a serious condition following a suspected case of food poisoning.

Twenty-two people fell ill on Sunday evening after eating dinner at the Cheneraie residential care facility in Lhrem, near Toulouse, displaying symptoms related to food poisoning.

Officials initially announced that four people had died. A fifth death was reported by AFP on Monday morning, citing a source close to the inquiry.

"We suspect food poisoning because these events occurred after the meal," deputy prosecutor Marie-Paule Demiguel told BFM TV, a French cable news channel.

Food samples are being kept for analysis and a Red Cross crisis unit has been set up near to the retirement home, local media reported.

One of the residents who died ate a Perigord salad, a regional dish which includes foie gras and duck breast, according to her grand-daughter.

"I still have the menu in my handbag and I know they had Perigord salad last night. What could that mean? Could it be the foie gras? They're going to do an autopsy in any case," the granddaughter of the 95-year-old told Depeche du Midi newspaper.

Another woman who said she was the daughter of two of the residents told journalists near the retirement home that she believed there was a problem with meals prepared for palliative care patients.

The care facility, which has 82 residents, is run by private firm Korian, who have a network of 740 care facilities including nursing homes and assisted living homes in France, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

Korian said in a statement on Monday: "We learned yesterday of these four deaths and illnesses, and that there is suspected food poisoning, with an investigation and analyses underway, and we won't have any comment while awaiting the results."

Updated: April 1, 2019 03:01 PM

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