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Who’s to blame?

Dec 14,2014 - Last updated at Dec 14,2014

Many of us have been to the Dead Sea area, and have some idea of what it is like down there.

The weather is nice in the winter season, hot during the fall and spring, and very hot during the summer. There are many flies in the air during daytime, but they fade away as time passes towards the night.

You can swim almost all year round in a swimming pool. Those who do not swim can enjoy floating on the Dead Sea, as the very salty water carries one over the water.

There are several hotels and resorts down there, many of which reputable international chains. They are there to make money. But they care much about their reputation.

Not so long ago, a family of four people went to the Dead Sea. They stayed at one of those hotels. They ordered food at the pool’s restaurant. It seems that they did not eat the food immediately. When they decided to go to their room later on, they took the remainder of the food with them.

The food that was in the open air during daytime was not disposed of, but rather taken by the family to be consumed later on.

The family was admitted to a local hospital for symptoms of food poisoning. Few hours later, the father insisted that the medical care they received was adequate, so they went back to the hotel. When the situation worsened, they went to an Amman hospital. One of the children died on the way. The next day the mother died.

Tests revealed that the food in the room contained high levels of Bacillus cereus, which is caused when “foods are prepared and held without adequate refrigeration for several hours before serving”. It was also found in the dissolved baby milk in the room.

None of the several other hotel guests who ate similar food at the same restaurant were poisoned. Test results, from samples taken from the pool restaurant kitchen, confirmed that the food in the kitchen was not contaminated.

Nizar Sawalha,

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