MOSCOW: A total of 121 people have sought medical help after showing symptoms of botulism, a serious food poisoning, with over 50 in serious condition, reported Xinhua, citing local media Monday.

“Fifty-five people are currently in serious condition, 30 of them are in intensive care,“ TASS news agency reported, citing Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova, adding that their lives are not at risk due to prompt care.

Rospotrebnadzor, the country’s consumer rights and human well-being watchdog confirmed earlier that the cases were linked to two ready-to-eat dishes that the victims had consumed over the past two days, said local media.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a criminal case into the incident.

According to the World Health Organisation, foodborne botulism is a serious, potentially fatal disease, but it is relatively rare. It develops particularly in poorly preserved foods.