Ankara, Turkey – Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into a spate of food safety problems linked to fast food outlets and fast food restaurants.
On Thursday, the Health Ministry said it was investigating how fast food outlet and fast-food restaurant chains in Turkey are handling food, particularly in regards to the safety of food.
The investigation, which was launched by the Turkish health ministry’s directorate for food safety, has resulted in the closure of at least 16 restaurants, including three that have been shut down for safety reasons, the ministry said.
In addition, seven fast food chains and a fast food restaurant chain have been closed down, it said.
The ministry added that some stores had been closed and some outlets were under temporary closure.
The Health Ministry also said the health authorities had also initiated an investigation to see if food handlers at restaurants were carrying out unnecessary and unsafe tasks.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been conducting a total inspection of restaurants, with inspectors looking into the safety and quality of food that is prepared and served at restaurants, the health ministry said in a statement.
A total of 937 food safety incidents were reported in the first seven months of 2018, the agency said in the statement.
“This means that food safety is at its most severe in recent years, with more than 5,500 food safety violations,” the health minister said.
Health authorities have been warning that food poisoning and illnesses could be a leading cause of death in Turkey due to the country’s high obesity rate, which is now estimated at more than 20%.
More than 70,000 people have died from food-borne illnesses since the start of the year, the UN estimates.
The government has announced a nationwide campaign to tackle obesity and promote health in the country.