The 15 diners who fell ill on September 27 at Barbeque Nation in Phase 5 here were victims of food adulteration by the restaurant. Samples of dal and cooked chicken taken the same day have been found substandard and unfit for human consumption.
Food and drug safety commissioner Hussan Lal confirmed the test reports, and would now move court. The restaurant can be fined up to Rs 10 lakh and/or imprisoned for 3-5 months under the Food Safety and Standards Act, according to district health officer Dr Gursharan Singh.
Among the tested samples was raw chicken, too, which was found fine. The report from the food analysis laboratory in Sector 11, Chandigarh, says artificial colours and "foreign" matter was found in the chicken preparation and dal. "We will take strict action," Lal told HT.
When contacted, Manish Kumar, the northern region head of Barbeque Nation, asked HT not to publish the report: "We have faced enough humiliation." Pressed about the failed samples, he added, "We have not got the copy of the report yet, so I cannot comment."
The police had already registered a case against the restaurant owner and staff for allegedly serving adulterated food, under sections 272 (adulteration of food or drink intended for sale), 273 (sale of noxious food or drink), 337 and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.
A notice was also issued, as the restaurant did not have proper ventilation for the release of carbon monoxide released from the grills placed on every table as part of their concept. The diners had fallen sick with nausea and vomiting bouts, and had to be rushed to hospital.