Imphal, Oct. 4: The Manipur health department seized several packets of cake manufactured by a Calcutta-based confectionery following reports that a woman died and several others fell sick in an Imphal West village after eating the product.
The state health department is contemplating a ban on the sale of the cake throughout Manipur in the next few days and appealed to the people not to consume these.
Official sources said a woman, identified as Thangjam Billa, 52, a resident of Khamran village under Sekmai police station in Imphal West about 15km north of Imphal died yesterday at a private hospital in Imphal.
The woman was admitted to an Imphal hospital recently after complaining of stomach ache, headache and fever after she had the cake.
Five persons of the same village were also treated for headache, stomach ache and fever in various hospitals in Imphal.
The source said the woman was taken to three hospitals after her ailment could not be diagnosed at any one of the first two hospitals and she finally died at the third one.
The family cremated the body yesterday without lodging any report to police and without any post mortem, he added.
The deputy commissioner of the food safety unit of the state medical directorate, Brojendro Khaba, visited Khamran yesterday to investigate the death.
“We have seized some packets of the cake from the village itself during our visit yesterday and we will seek the permission from the government for a complete ban of the product in Manipur,” the deputy commissioner told The Telegraph.
He said fungus and other micro-organisms were allegedly found in the cake.
This cake brand is manufactured by a Calcutta-based company and the product is reportedly very popular in Manipur.
Brojendro said following an earlier report of a woman falling sick at Saijang village in Imphal East, about 30km northeast of Imphal, after consuming the same product, the food safety officials visited the village on September 5 and seized the remaining stock there. The department asked the local agent on the same day not to distribute the cake until further orders.
Khamran villagers told the food safety officials that they ate these cakes during a tree plantation drive at Khonghampat, another village in Imphal West on September 15. They also brought some and distributed them to others at the village.
Some villagers complained of fever, stomach ache and headache after consuming the product.
“I will seek the permission of the government to ban this product. However, we do not have any proof that the woman died after eating the cake as she was cremated without a post-mortem,” Brojendro said.
He also said the medical department would consult legal experts for taking action against the local agent for not complying a directive of the food safety unit issued on September 5 to bring all the stock of the cake to the medical department.