24 killed after eating poison sweets in Pakistan

Laddu, seen here at a market in Kolkata, are popular sweets for celebratory occasions.

(CNN) Twenty-four people, many of them from a single family, are dead after ingesting sweets that had been mixed with pesticide, Pakistani officials said Monday.

Dozens more have been hospitalized.

Umer Hayat bought five kilograms (about 11 pounds) of laddu, a ball-shaped confection composed of dough and sugar, from Tariq Hotel & Sweet in the village of Karor Lal Essan, said Layyah District Coordination Officer Rana Gulzar. Located in the Layyah district of Punjab province, the village sits about 250 miles west of Lahore.

The sweets were to celebrate the birth of Hayat’s grandson, Sajjad, but recipients of the treats began falling ill Thursday, Gulzar said.

Hayat is now in critical condition in a hospital, and six brothers, one sister and two children in his family have died after eating the laddu.

Investigators say the shopkeeper’s servant has acknowledged that he accidentally mixed pesticide into the laddu, Gulzar said.

The shop has been closed down, and the owners, two brothers, have been taken into custody, he said.

The Punjab Food Authority is now looking into the matter.

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