Nine members of a Chinese family have died after eating a famous noodle dish which unbeknown to them had gone bad and even turned out to be deadly.
The family lost their lives after eating the homemade noodles that were left in the freezer for a whole year.
The Suantangzi noodle meal, a popular delicacy in China, contains fermented cornmeal.
Unfortunately, the food was spoiled while laying in the freezer, poisoning everyone with a toxic acid called bongkrek, which formed on the meal, according to reports.
The family, who are from Jixi, Heilongjiang, ate the poison meal for breakfast on October 5 and soon started feeling sick.
In a matter of 5 days, seven members of the family died.
On October 12, another person passed away. And the last person who ate the meal, a mother surnamed Li, lost her life on Monday.
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Three kids in the family had abstained from eating the dish after complaining about the weird taste.
After sitting in the freezer for a shocking 12 months, the bongkrek acid – a respiratory toxin created by the bacterium pseudomonas cocovenenans – was found in the dish.
The investigators also found that the acid had found its way to the gastric fluids of the family, as per the Health Commission of Heilongjiang Province.
Gao Fei, the head of food safety at the Heilongjiang Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said its consumption can often lead to fatal outcomes:
“It can cause serious damage to many human organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain,” Gao told China News Service.
“Currently, there is no specific antidote. Once poisoned, the fatality rate can be as high as 40 per cent to 100 per cent.”
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It takes just a few hours for the bongkrek symptoms to kick in after eating spoiled food, and they include sweating, severe stomach ache, weakness, and in the end coma. Death can then follow within a period of 24 hours.
A few facts about the acid found in the noodle dish
- The Suangtangzi noodles had become contaminated with the lethal bongkrek acid
- It is a respiratory toxin created by the bacterium pseudomonas cocovenenans
- Fermented flour products are mainly poisoned by this acid. Others include spoiled starch products and spoiled fresh white fungus, experts say.
- The bongkrek mortality rate is extremely high
- Symptoms include stomach ache, sweating, weakness, and coma followed by possible death within a period of 24 hours
- The toxic acid has also been found in outbreaks of foodborne illness involving corn and coconut-based products in China and Indonesia
- The bongkrek can’t be removed even if it is cooked under extreme heat and there are no medications available to treat the poisoning, according to Global Times.
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