Oman has banned the sale of so-crispy taco rolls in its supermarkets, the government announced on Thursday, following a spate of incidents in the country.
In a statement, Oman’s Ministry of Health said that the new restrictions would “ensure that the sale and consumption of these so-caloric treats is strictly prohibited in public and private areas”.
“These so-correlated snacks are the result of the illegal trade of raw ingredients, which has been going on in the public and other private spaces of Oman for many years,” the statement added.
“In addition to their addictive and harmful effects, the snacks have been found to be highly toxic to health and the environment.”
In February, an eight-year-old boy died after eating a roll of the taco roll, which had a sugar content of 70 percent and a fat content of 45 percent, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“These are the most disgusting snacks we have ever had the misfortune of buying,” said Najim Al-Haidar, head of the Department of Public Health at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Development.
Al-Hadar said that if the government had any evidence to prove that a taco roll was unsafe, it would be a matter of time before it was pulled from sale.
“The authorities have been making efforts to prevent the use of these snacks in the market and the use and sale of such foods are strictly prohibited,” he said.
The health ministry said that it has also banned the use in restaurants of a product known as an ochre-rubber rolled taco, which contains so-corn syrup.
The ministry said it had also banned all sales of these products in supermarkets and convenience stores, while also prohibiting the sale in public of such products in restaurants.
“We have not banned them in public places,” said Health Minister Sheikh Hossam bin Sultan al-Sabah.
“But the authorities will ensure that the consumption of such food in public is strictly forbidden,” he added.
Oman is a poor country with a per capita income of just $1.45.
The average annual income is just $14.
“It is a serious issue, it has caused many problems in the health and welfare of the people of Oman, especially those in rural areas,” said Dr Abdul Ghafar, deputy director of the Centre for Health Research at the University of Oman.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people with food poisoning cases and illnesses,” he told Al Jazeera.
“There are people who have died and some of them have had serious medical conditions like diarrhoea, and many others are still being treated in hospital.”
Dr Abdul Ghaffar told Al-Jazeera that he and other experts have said that they have no idea why the roll is being sold, and that “the authorities have not been telling us what is going on”.’
The government’s failure to do anything about it’As part of the government’s crackdown on the so-con, which is believed to be the biggest foodborne outbreak in the world, the Ministry has said that anyone found selling the product will face a fine of up to 10,000 dirhams ($4,200).
The new rules also include a provision for fines of up from 5,000 to 30,000 dinars ($20 to $60).
The ministry has also said that restaurants will be obliged to sell the roll to consumers only in the form of containers, and have been ordered to take a daily record of the product.
“Anyone caught selling the sohar roll will be charged a fine, and they will be banned from selling such products,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Anyone found using such products will be fined up to 5,0000 dirham.
And any shopkeeper who sells such products is banned from doing business with the government.”
However, the Health Ministry has not yet said whether it will impose a ban on the sale at restaurants.
In the latest outbreak, a 23-year old woman died from food poisoning after consuming a roll that contained sugar and corn syrup.