Death by Breakfast: Nine Family Members Dead After Eating Noodles

Nine family members died after eating homemade corn noodles and they weren’t intentionally poisoned. Turns out, these noodles have been kept in the freezer for a year and the cause of death was the high concentration of bongkrekic acid that was discovered in the noodles later on.

According to a report by China Daily, the family of 12 lived in Jixi city of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. On October 5, they gathered for breakfast. Nine family members ate the homemade noodles, except for the younger members of the family, who didn’t like the taste. Known as Suantangzi, these thick noodles are commonly from fermented corn flour.

Photo from Unsplash

Photo from Unsplash

Those who ate the noodles felt ill within hours of eating said Suantangzi noodles. Eight of them were confirmed dead by October 11, but the ninth member of the family— a 47-year-old woman with the surname Li — was treated in a hospital and later on died on Monday.

Gao Fei, the Director of Food Safety at the Heilongjiang Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told China News Service that bongkrekic acid poisoning can often be fatal. Bonkrekic acid is a respiratory toxin produced by the bacterium pseudomonas cocovenenans. This was found in both the corn noodles and in the gastric fluids of the deceased.

Photo from HongXing Video/ The Paper

Photo from HongXing Video/ The Paper

“It can cause serious damage to many human organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain,” Mr Gao said.

According to experts, there is no antidote to date for bongkrekic acid poisoning. Plus, the fatality rate ranges from 40% to 100%. Symptoms often begin within a few hours of eating the contaminated food. These include stomach pain, sweating, general weakness, and eventual coma. Death can then occur within 24 hours.

Following these deaths, the National Health Commission issued a warning for the public to avoid making and eating food with fermented rice and flour as a precaution.

[Also Read: Fake Noodles Discovered In Davao]

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