Employees from food poisoning restaurant banned from leaving Taiwan

29 March, 2024

Courtesy of ICRT


The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office has banned a legal representative, a branch manager and chef who work for the Malaysian restaurant chain involved in a suspected food poisoning case from leaving the country. Prosecutors say the travel ban was issued for their "suspected involvement" in what is believed to be a food poisoning outbreak.


The move comes after prosecutors questioned the three as "witnesses" about operations, division of labour and food preparation at the restaurant at Taipei City Police Department's Xinyi Precinct.


Prosecutors say police are also investigating the victims and the branch as well as analysing surveillance footage and relevant documents to confirm any malpractice that may have contributed to the incident.


Prosecutors, police and officials from the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Taipei Department of Health searched and inspected the restaurant earlier this week. Evidence related to food ingredients was taken by the Taipei Department of Health for examination.


Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang says tests found Bongkrekic acid in one of two victims to have died of food poisoning after eating at a Taipei restaurant. The examination was conducted by experts from National Taiwan University's Department of Forensic Medicine. Wang said this is the first time that Bongkrekic acid has been detected in Taiwan.


However, the deputy health minister says it hasn't yet been concluded that Bongkrekic acid was the actual cause of death and information regarding the presence of the toxin was released due to "public concern." Wang says the final conclusion concerning the cause of death will be made after prosecutors have carried out a comprehensive assessment of the case.

Bongkrekic acid was first discovered in Indonesia and can result in multiple organ failures within a day. The Ministry of Health says five people who ate at the restaurant remain in critical condition.


The number of people reporting illnesses after eating at the restaurant now stands at 18, six of whom remain hospitalized. Ten other patients have been discharged from hospital while the death toll from the food poisoning remains at two.


According to the health ministry, most of the patients ate a Malaysian stir-fried rice noodle dish that contains egg at the restaurant in between 19 and 23 March.


The Taipei Department of Legal Affairs says 91 transactions were recorded at the Xinyi restaurant from between 17 and 25 March and health officials are advising anyone who ate there should seek medical attention if they develop symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and gastro-intestinal discomfort.


The Taipei City government ordered the closure of all of the restaurant chain's branches with immediate effect earlier this week. However, Taipei Department of Health Commissioner Chen Yen-yuan says the company that runs the Malaysian restaurant chain in Taipei intentionally failed to immediately close one of its branches. That branch was closed yesterday.

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