Gauteng Health hit with new incidents of spaza shop food poisoning

Gauteng Health hit with new incidents of spaza shop food poisoning. Picture: File

Gauteng Health hit with new incidents of spaza shop food poisoning. Picture: File

Published Feb 7, 2024


The Gauteng Department of Health has confirmed yet another incident of alleged food poisoning of four children in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, on Wednesday.

According to the spokesperson for the Gauteng Health Department, Motalatale Modiba, the four learners are aged 2, 3, 6, and 9 years old.

Modiba said the children are currently in a stable condition and recovering well at the Pholosong Regional Hospital in Tsakane after they were admitted on Tuesday late in the afternoon following a suspected food poisoning incident.

However, the fifth child, aged 6, died after she started vomiting.

“The Gauteng Health Department can confirm that four children aged 2, 3, 6 and 9 are currently recovering in hospital. Sadly, a Grade 1 learner (girl) at Mandlethu Primary School who started vomiting in class was declared dead upon arrival of the paramedics.

"This means that since the first food poisoning incident reported in October 2023, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has recorded cumulatively 861 food-borne incidences which have resulted in 11 deaths," said Modiba in a statement.

The latest incident in Tsakane has also resulted in members of the community clamping down on spaza shops owned and run by alleged illegal immigrants in the area.

Modiba has urged communities and parents to visit their nearest health facilities in any suspected food poisoning and called for better handling of food.

“The department continues to urge people to immediately visit their nearest health facilities for treatment when they present with symptoms such as vomiting, sudden chest pains, body ache/weakness, fever, or foam in the mouth,” he said.

Modiba added: “Post ingestion of suspicious biscuits bought from a local spaza shop two children reported experiencing diarrhoea, while the other two were asymptomatic, awake, and playful. One child started vomiting in class and later on died.”

“As a precautionary measure, food samples, including the biscuits, have been collected from the shop and will undergo laboratory investigations to determine if there are any contaminants or other factors that may have contributed to this unfortunate incident. Blood and urine samples have also been taken to the laboratory from the hospitalised children,” Modiba said.

He added that since the latest outbreak in the area, the provincial department and the district have been on the ground conducting tests and monitoring the situation.

“The provincial and district outbreak response team has also been on the ground conducting investigations, public health education and food safety blitz at the spaza shops in Tsakane to raise awareness and allay the public fear regarding alleged food poisoning. This is part of ongoing efforts to preparation, storage, the importance of checking food expiry labels and hand washing before handling food products," he said.

The Star