The owner and head chef of a restaurant in Kerala, a southern Indian state, has been arrested in connection with the death of a customer who was allegedly poisoned by food. On December 30, the nurse was hospitalized after becoming ill after consuming a rice dish and some grilled chicken that she had ordered online from the restaurant. The sickness took her life on January 2. Preliminary postmortem results, according to local press reports, showed she had died as a result of an infection in her internal organs. The police reported that 21 more people became ill after eating at the restaurant. Their investigation proved that the nurse’s death was caused by food poisoning and that the restaurant’s food was of “poor” quality. The owner and the cook are facing culpable homicide charges, according to the police. They are being held without having responded to the accusations as of yet.

The incident is one of several in the state that has raised questions about the safety of restaurant meals. Last week, incidences of food poisoning were also reported in other regions of the state. Some Pathanamthitta district children and their parents became ill after consuming food at a school event. Since then, more than 500 establishments have been searched by food safety regulators. Due to operating in unclean conditions or without the required license, 48 restaurants have been suspended. Similar raids were carried out in May 2022, when several people became ill and a 16-year-old died after eating at a snack bar in the Kasargod neighborhood. According to officials, more inspections are anticipated.