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‘Avoid eating shawarma. It is not our food’: TN Health Minister Ma Subramanian

The Tamil Nadu minister’s comments came after 58 people fell ill and a young girl died after consuming shawarma on May 1 from an eatery in Kerala’s Kasaragod district.

By: Express News Service | Chennai |
Updated: May 11, 2022 6:24:15 pm
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Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian has requested people to avoid eating shawarma, saying it is not a part of Indian cuisine. Addressing reporters while overseeing the mega vaccination drive Sunday, Subramanian said there are other food items available and people should avoid eating those that may affect their health.

“Shawarma is western food. This might suit western countries due to their climatic conditions. The temperature might tend to go to minus degrees in those areas. Even if it is kept outside, It won’t get spoiled. Be it any meat items, if it is not maintained in proper condition in the freezer, they will get spoilt. Eating those spoiled items will cause serious health issues,” he said.

Even though the Tamil Nadu minister called it a western dish, shawarma is a popular Middle Eastern street food made with marinated meat which is wrapped in flatbread.

Subramanian further added that the shawarma shops present across the country don’t have proper storage facilities and they keep them outside exposing them to dust and due to the interest of youngsters, many shops have started selling the dish without any proper facilities.

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“No one is thinking whether this food will suit our climatic conditions and those who sell these items also don’t really bother whether they have the provision to have this processed meat. They are thinking only about the business angle. Following two-three complaints, we have ordered the Food Safety Department to inspect these shops across the state. Close to 1,000 shops have been fined for not having the requisite facilities, we are going to continue this drive and take necessary action,” he said.

The Tamil Nadu minister’s comments came after 58 people fell ill and a young girl died after consuming shawarma on May 1 from an eatery in Kerala’s Kasaragod district. The state’s health department said pathogenic salmonella and shigella were detected in the ‘shawarma’ samples collected from the eatery.

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