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Biggest food poisoning outbreak of its type in the UK for the last 10 years - 340 Muslims were made ill after breaking their fast during the Holy month of Ramadan in 2003

Report by Dr Yunes Teinaz, Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner

The owner of the Shimla restaurant and take-away in Bradford, UK has been sent to prison for a year after causing a serious outbreak of food poisoning.

The outbreak at the restaurant occurred in November 2003 during the Holy month of Ramadan.The Shimla was a popular venue for Muslims breaking their fast. At Bradford Crown Court, the judge ordered Javid Qadir to pay £34,000 to cover the cost of the investigation by environmental health officers (EHOs), and remarked that it was a mercy that no one had died as a result of his negligence. Qadir admitted 14 charges of supplying unfit food and 13 breaches of the food hygiene regulations. He was banned from working in the food industry for life.

About 340 people, including a baby of 18 months old, became ill after eating mainly chicken donner kebabs at the Shimla. The illness was caused by Salmonella enteriditis phage type 56 (PT56), as identified by the Health Protection Agency's Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, and was the second major outbreak of S. enteriditis PT56 infection since this phage type was first identified in 2002. The other outbreak was linked to a Chinese restaurant in Durham in June 2003. 60% of those affected were young men aged 16 - 30 years of Pakistani ethnicity.

Conditions at the Shimla restaurant were described by EHOs as filthy. Cooked food was stored alongside raw poultry, food storage containers were covered in grease, there was a lack of wash hand basins in the food preparation area and evidence of insect and rodent pests, 60 people were admitted to hospital within days of EHOs discovering filthy conditions. According to the judge, the unhygienic practices found at the restaurant were clearly of long standing and showed that Qadir had a complete disregard for proper standards of hygiene.

Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan the Director General The London Central Mosque Trust & the Islamic Cultural Centre , said :' This gives a clear message to any food business or restaurant which lets its standard drop . In the Islamic Shariat Law it is totally unacceptable to sale unsafe food. Any food business which causes food poisoning to its customers can expect to be prosecuted'.