Turkish Family Throws Feast For 20 People To Celebrate Surviving Food Poisoning, But The Meal Gives Them All Food Poisoning Again

A Turkish family decided to hold a dinner party for 20 guests this week to celebrate recovering from food poisoning, but apparently they didn’t learn their lesson the first time.

A report from the Turkish province of Tekirdag claimed that the family’s matriarch, Asiye Erdal, decided to sacrifice an animal to show gratitude to God for the entire family recovering from the earlier illness. But after serving the animal to the guests, all 20 of them fell ill with food poisoning again and ended up in the hospital, the U.K.’s Independent reported.

The family had just returned from spending an entire week in the hospital after a meal prepared by Asiye Erdal, the report indicated. The meal this week was supposed to be a celebration for the family successfully getting through the illness.

Alattin Erdal, Asiye’s husband, said he couldn’t believe that the family would be struck twice in such a short time.

“We don’t get it. First we were poisoned and then sacrificed an animal for God as a sign of gratitude for gaining our health back. Then we were poisoned once again, as well as the neighbors. May God save us from the worst,” he told Anadolu. “Food poisoning became our nightmare.”

While the plight of the Turkish family who suffered food poisoning during their meal to celebrate getting over food poisoning may have made international headlines for being a bit of a joke, contaminated food is no laughing matter. In a report issued last year, the World Health Organization estimated that 550 million people are affected by food poisoning every year, and roughly 420,000 people die from food poisoning.

Medical experts have called for more research on the causes and prevention of food poisoning.

“This is the first report to shed light on the size of this problem, which we now know to be a leading cause of preventable illness and deaths worldwide, and for which data has been sorely lacking,” wrote Dr. Kazuaki Miyagishima, Director of WHO’s Department of Food Safety.

Miyagishima said that food poisoning is more than simply eating food that may have spoiled. He said the ailment can arise from a number of different bacteria, viruses, or even exposure to man-made chemicals on food. There can also be long-term effects that last well beyond the few days of vomiting and diarrhea that generally come from a bout of food poisoning.

“There is much less awareness of the grave, longer-term consequences of foodborne diseases, such as cancer, kidney or liver failure and brain and neural disorders,” Dr. Miyagishima wrote.

He also had some instructions on how to help prevent food poisoning.

“Now, more than ever, it’s critical that food safety is integrated into school education and that those who prepare food — at home or in small food operations — are educated and supported to better protect the health of their communities … there are some basic principles that each of us can take on board that will help reduce our own risk and the overall burden: wash hands regularly; keep raw and cooked meats separate; cook food thoroughly; keep food at safe temperatures; and use safe water and raw materials.”

Unfortunately, that warning never reached the family in Turkey or the guests they invited to celebrate getting over the first bout of food poisoning. And the latest case of food poisoning for the unlucky family is quite a serious one, as well. The Independent noted that of the 20 people hospitalized for eating the contaminated food, four were taken to intensive care.

Asiye Erdal said she will make sure that the family avoids a third bout with food poisoning, saying she will be much more careful about preparing food in the future.

[Photo by Matthew Mead/AP Images]

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