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Death toll from poisoned sweets climbs to 33 in Pakistan

Multan, PAKISTAN | AFP | 

Some 33 people including five children have now died in central Pakistan after eating sweets accidentally tainted with insecticide, officials said Sunday.

The mass poisoning occurred in the Karor Lal Esan area of Punjab province last month.

“The death toll from poisonous sweets has risen to 33 and 13 other victims are still in hospital,” district police chief Muhammad Ali Zia told AFP.

Local resident Umar Hayat bought the baked confectionery on April 17 to distribute among friends and family to celebrate the birth of his grandson.

But their jubilation was short-lived when ten people died on the same day.

Police investigator Haji Mohammad Akhtar told AFP that two sweet shop owners and one worker who were arrested after the incident would be brought before a court on Monday.

Akhtar said a chemical examination had indicated the presence of agriculture pesticides in the sweets, which had been consumed by 52 people.

Police were investigating how the chemicals were introduced into the sweets preparation process, he said.

Police last week said the worker may have inadvertently added pesticide to the sweet mix since there was a pesticide shop close by which was being renovated, and the owner had left his products at the bakery for safe keeping.

Officials said the dead included the baby boy’s father and six of his uncles and one aunt.

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

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