133 fasting people laid low after eating vari

FDA bans sale of buckwheat supplied by Nashik and Thane distributors after food poisoning during Navratri fast

After at least 133 residents of Kothrud, Warje and Karve Nagar suffered food poisoning upon consuming items made of vari (buckwheat) during the first day of fasting in Navratri, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the state banned the sale of the grain.

Wary after vari experience: Sandip Wanjale recuperates in Sahyadri
Hospital after suffering food poisoning last morning. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

Incidents of poisoning after consumption of buckwheat were also reported from Kolhapur and Solapur over the last two days. FDA Commissioner Mahesh Zagade announced a ban on the sale of buckwheat by distributors from Thane and Nashik as they were the ones providing it to local shops in the city, Kolhapur and Solapur.

Most of the victims ate buckwheat flour items on Wednesday during their daylong fast on the first day of Navratri. The residents had bought the flour from local shops at night and after consuming it they fell sick with dizziness, vomiting and shivering.

Dr Savita Wavare, the resident doctor of Sutar Hospital on Paud Road, said all the 92 patients who came to the hospital were now stable. "We started admitting the patients with complaints of weakness, dysentery and vomiting on Thursday morning and they showed symptoms of food poisoning," Wavare said. "The condition of all 92 patients that we have received since morning is stable and 90 out of them are discharged."

The patients who suffered from the food adulteration were mostly in the age group of 50-60 years. Almost all the patients were rushed to hospitals late in the night on Wednesday or in the wee hours of Thursday.

Sandip Wanjale (25), a resident of Jai Bhavani Nagar in Kothrud, said he had bought buckwheat from Manik Super Market.  "Yesterday (Wednesday), after consuming food made from buckwheat I went to sleep. At 3 am (Thursday) I started vomiting and my condition deteriorated. My family rushed me to the hospital," Wanjale said.

At least seven city hospitals, including Sahyadri Hospital, Krishna Hospital, Sanjeevan Hospital, saw people coming in with complaints of food poisoning after consuming buckwheat. Nearly 10 people were admitted in the morning.

Dr Rahul Lokhande from one of the hospitals that saw food poisoning cases brought in said the patients were out of danger. Lt Col Deepak Agashe (Retd), the administrator of Sanjeevan Hospital, said the hospital would bear the cost of treatment for all 10 patients who came there with food poisoning.

PMC Medical Officer Dr R R Pardeshi said that all legal procedures had been completed and the situation was under control. "Only one patient is in ICU. His age is 20 years, and he is also stable," Pardeshi said.

Raids on shops
The FDA last morning began raids on Market Yard and Kothrud shops selling vari supplied by Thane and Nashik distributors. The raids went on all day. Sources said two shops raided were Rupali Sales and Kanani Trading in Market Yard.

Seized: A sealed packet of buckwheat flour impounded yesterday by the FDA from a shop in Market Yard

(With inputs from Kavya Singh)

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