Food-Poisoning Probe: Taiwan Bans Manager and Chef Amid Investigation of Malaysian Restaurant

Taipei, Taiwan – Authorities have taken action against the manager and chef of Polam Kopitiam in Taipei, preventing them from leaving the country amidst suspicions of their involvement in a severe food poisoning incident. This decision comes in the wake of two fatalities and numerous illnesses reported after individuals dined at the particular restaurant in question.

The investigation stems from the tragic deaths of two individuals linked to suspected food poisoning after consuming meals at Polam Kopitiam, a Malaysian restaurant chain located in Taipei, Taiwan. Official examinations revealed the presence of bongkrekic acid in one of the deceased customers, a respiratory toxin previously unseen in the country, according to Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang.

Health officials are diligently conducting tests to scrutinize the ingredients sourced from restaurants and rice noodle suppliers in light of suspicions that bongkrekic acid is responsible for the recent outbreak of food poisoning. The data collected indicates that 30 individuals fell ill after dining at the branch in the Xinyi district between March 19 and March 24, with bongkrekic acid detected in 22 of the victims and eight still undergoing testing. Tragically, two individuals have succumbed to the illness, while six others remain hospitalized, four of whom are in critical condition.

Authorities are currently exploring the possibilities of intentional contamination by bongkrekic acid or the presence of endogenous toxins from food ingredients, as shared by Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan. He clarified that while most food poisoning cases are typically linked to microorganisms, this particular incident deviates from the norm due to the sudden and severe progression of symptoms experienced by the affected individuals.

Local health officials have defended their response protocols, explaining that the atypical symptoms displayed by patients necessitated thorough investigations to determine the root cause of the outbreak. As the investigation unfolds, prosecutors are keeping a close watch on the restaurant’s legal representative, branch manager, and chef, suspecting their involvement in the food poisoning incident.

The severity of the situation has sparked nationwide concern, prompting ongoing examinations and measures to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals in Taiwan. The authorities continue to appeal to the public for vigilance and caution amidst the evolving situation surrounding the Polam Kopitiam food poisoning outbreak.