The test results of food items believed to be the cause of a mass outbreak of suspected food poisoning at Port Elizabeth’s Gelvan Park frail care centre earlier this month are inconclusive and samples will have to be retested.
Chicken and milk left unrefrigerated overnight at the centre were suspected to be the sources of food poisoning that claimed the life of one elderly woman and left 58 other people ill. At the time there was no fridge at the centre, only a deep freezer.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said: “The testing [was] done by [the] environmental management sub-directorate under Public Health. The results were inconclusive.” Mniki said a retest would be done. He confirmed that the person who had died, Nomasthayina Jucwa, 72 – for whom the centre initially had no family contact information – had now been identified by her family, who had “presented themselves to the centre”.
While investigations are still under way to identify the reason why nearly all the residents of the home became violently ill after Sunday lunch was served, questions about the availability of proper equipment, including fridges, have been raised.
When the centre was contacted on Friday there was no one available to talk to the media.
However, a woman who did not give her name as she is not permitted to speak to the media, confirmed that fridges had been brought to the centre.
The chairman of the board, Dennis Bellairs, was not available for comment.