Samples taken after food poisoning in Penang Prison

GEORGE TOWN - Clinical samples have been taken for laboratory tests after 644 inmates at the Penang Prison came down with food poisoning.

Health Ministry deputy director-general (public health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said samples were taken from the victims and prison cooks, adding that the laboratory results were expected to be ready within five days of the tests.

He said the victims had eaten nasi minyak (ghee rice) with ayam masak merah (red tomato chicken) for lunch on Friday.

"The food was prepared by four cooks with the help of 29 prisoners," he said in a press statement on Saturday.

Dr Lokman Hakim said the first two cases of diarrhoea and vomiting occurred at 7.40pm that night.

By midnight, 20 other prisoners suffered from diarrhoea with 622 more complaining of the symptoms the next morning.

He said four of the victims were sent to Penang Hospital on Saturday and received outpatient treat­ment.