A Moscow court on June 19 ordered Tajik national Karim Normatov to be held in pretrial detention for two months over a mass food poisoning in the Russian capital.  Normatov is a cook for the Savon-K food-delivery company, Radio Liberty’s Russian Service reported on June 20. 

Three other suspects -- the company's commercial director, Vladimir Shin; the director of the Kukhnya Na Rayone restaurant, Anton Lozin; and his chief of food quality, Yelena Mashkova, were just placed under house arrest.

Russia's consumers' rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor (the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare), said earlier that more than 120 Savon-K customers were diagnosed with botulism and 50 were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, KTLA said on June 18 that Russian authorities detained three people on June 18 in connection with a suspected botulism outbreak, a move that comes after dozens of people in four different regions have been hospitalized with symptoms of the rare and dangerous disease.

Officials reportedly link the outbreak to ready-to-eat salads made by a popular delivery service.  Russia’s top investigations agency, the Investigative Committee, said on June 18 that authorities detained two top managers of the delivery service and a head of a company that produces canned beans as part of a criminal inquiry on charges of making and distributing products in violation of safety standards. It wasn’t immediately clear from the statement if the three have been charged or placed in custody.

In Moscow, 121 people have sought medical help with suspected botulism, Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said on June 17.  She added that 55 of those affected are in serious condition, with 30 of them in intensive care.

In the outlying Moscow region, 20 people, including 12 in serious condition, have been hospitalized with a preliminary diagnosis of botulism, local health officials told Russian news agency Interfax on June 18.

A total of 14 people diagnosed with botulism were in hospitals in the Nizhny Novgorod region about 400 kilometers east of Moscow, the region’s branch of the public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor reported on June 18.

Fourteen more people have been hospitalized with botulism in Kazan, a city about 700 kilometers east of Moscow, according to a local branch of Rospotrebnadzor.

Health officials initially linked at least some of the cases in Moscow to two brands of ready-made salads.  Rospotrebnadzor halted the sale of the salads pending investigation on June 15, after the first cases of poisoning were reported.

By June 18, it appeared that the authorities were only looking at one of the two salads, made and sold by popular delivery service Kukhnya Na Rayone, which operates in Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod and several other cities.  Kukhnya Na Rayone suspended operations over the weekend, saying in an online statement that it no longer offered the salad, which had canned beans in it, and would inspect other food it makes as well.

Rospotrebnadzor on the evening of June 18 pointed to Kuhnya Na Rayone’s salad and beans used in it as the culprit, saying in an online statement that it seized over 172 tons of the product.

Foodborne botulism is a rare illness caused by a toxin produced by a type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Eating foods contaminated with the toxin can cause paralysis, breathing difficulties and sometimes death. Improperly canned, preserved or fermented foods are common sources.

Symptoms typical of botulism can include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, a dry mouth, difficulty in swallowing or speaking, and neurological symptoms.