October 22, 2016

Poisoned sweets kill 23 people in Pakistan

Laddoos are popular in the sub-continent and often involve pulses or flour, sugar and ghee

At least 23 people have died and dozens of others are ill in central Pakistan after eating sweets that police suspect were tainted with pesticides, officials said.

Umar Hayat, from Punjab province’s Karor Lal Esan area, bought the baked confectionery on April 17 to share among friends and family after the birth of his grandson.

However, their celebrations turned out to be short-lived when 10 people died on the same day.

“The death toll from consumption of the sweets has now risen to 23, and 52 people are still being treated at various hospitals,” local police official Munir Ahmed said.

He said the dead included the baby boy’s father and seven of his uncles.

Rameez Bukhari, a senior police officer from the district, said three people — two brothers who run the bakery and a worker — had been arrested.

The worker may have inadvertently added pesticide to the sweet mix.

“There was a pesticide shop close by which was being renovated, and the owner had left his pesticides at the bakery for safe keeping,” said Mr Bukhari.

“A baker may have used a small packet in the sweet mixture,” he said, but added that police were waiting for the results of laboratory testing.

Pakistan has poor food safety standards and hygiene laws are rarely implemented.

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