Community leader taken ill by food poisoning

Edibles sold at Kite Festival lands Pratima Nand into trouble

Pratima Nand

My first visit to the Kite Festival held on January 14, 2018 at East Dale Reserve in Avondale, Auckland would probably be my last one.

It was a beautiful, clear day meant to enjoy; instead, it turned out to be a nightmare.

The Offending Samosa

There were a couple of food stalls, but my eyes caught sight of Bikanervala of Henderson. Temptation led me to purchase one Samosa and two pieces of Paneer tikka.

I ate the Tikka on the spot but saved the Samosa for my evening meal.

This was around 1 pm. Upon arriving home, I placed the Samosa in the fridge.

I ate it at 7 pm and within 15 to 20 minutes, my stomach started to rumble, followed by cramps in the stomach and diarrhoea.

Frequent visits to the wash room made my body weak. Then started the headache and dizziness and by 9 pm, my body started to tremble, shake and sweat.

Fear set into me and the thought of dialling 111 for an ambulance was very close.

I took a few Paracetamol tablets and slowly drifted off to sleep.

I woke up in the morning with my entire body in sweat. I was dehydrated.

Still feeling very unwell, and light headed I made an appointment to see my GP. He confirmed that I was suffering from food poisoning.

Unhealthy and Unhygienic

It was alarming to see this food stall’s display of food on plastic plates, uncovered and unprotected. The Samosas and Paneer Tikkas were not in the pie warmers.

The Samosa and the Paneer pieces were kept in plastic plates and placed on a card box next to the money filled in another card box on the ground.

The cashier was handling the money from this box and close to the food.

Keeping in mind the amount of dust generated by the wind on this day, I believe that the stall was lacking in Health and Hygiene certificate.

This information can be sought only by the organisers of the event.

City of Diversity and Festivals

Auckland is now a very popular city of festivals and events. Increased awareness of health, hygiene and safety of food handling is paramount. Be it on a small or large event, the risk of food poisoning remains the same.

I have been a food stall-holder at ‘Auckland Diwali’ organised by the Auckland Council for almost 16 years.

The Council is very robust in every way, making sure that food stall-holders are appropriately briefed in every way regarding handling for food.

Each year, all those hiring stalls must attend a compulsory workshop on hygiene and food handling. A certificate (costing $60) is then given to each of them for display at their stall.

Suggestion to Organisers

I strongly urge all organisations and individuals at festivals and other events where food is sold or served to initiate a workshop, perhaps under the guidance of Auckland Council. This will serve as an assurance to the public consuming these foods are safe.

I know that the Mayor of Auckland is looking at ways of collecting revenue to improve facilities in Auckland.

Here is a suggestion- Make Health and Hygiene certificates compulsory for all organisers of all events where food is either sold, sampled or given away free.

Pratima Nand is a community leader and social worker based in Auckland. A Justice of the Peace, she has been involved in promoting the welfare of communities in which she serves. Indian Newslink is boycotted by the organisers of the Kite Festival and hence we do not any official information. We would welcome public response.

Photo Caption: Pratima Nand (File Photo)

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