THE number of people suffering from salmonella food poisoning in the Balearics crept up from 99 to 105 over the weekend. Nineteen people needed hospital treatment, although they have now all ben discharged, the local health authorities reported. A spokesman said that all the cases in the Balearics were attributed to the consumption of contaminated chickens before the manufacturer and the Food Safety Agency decided to withdraw the products, marketed under the brand names Pimpollo and Pollo Asado Sada, from sale. The health authorities have advised people who may have purchased these products -- which have a shelf life of 30 days -before they were withdrawn, not to eat them. Elena Salgado, the central government's health minister, yesterday announced steps to strengthen food alearts, measures including making it obligatory for health authorities to declare cases of salmonela. She said that the food alert network had “functioned correctly” although she admitted that the speed in which the news was communicated had to be improved. More than 2'000 people nationwide have now been affected by food poisoning caused by eating the contaminated chicken. The source of infection has been traced to a tube dispensing sauce. According to one consumer defence organisation, the producer, SADA, will have to pay out more than 660'000 euros in compensation to victims.
A spokesman said that anyone who had to be hospitalised would be entitled to 58.19 euros per day, while those who did not have to stay in hospital would be entitled to 47.28 euros for every day they were incapacitated. They would also be entitled to compensation for medicines, taxi fares and other expenses incurred through illness.

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