Nine members of the same family in China died after eating spoiled noodles that had been kept in the freezer for nearly a year, authorities said.
The family living in the northeast province of Heilongjiang ate the homemade corn noodles for breakfast on October 5, according to the Independent, citing a state-run media report.
The noodles, made from fermented corn flour, are a common dish in the region. But hours after eating them, those who consumed the noodles fell ill, according to the report said. Eight of them had been confirmed dead by Oct. 11, and the ninth member was hospitalized but ultimately died on Monday, the outlet reported.
The cause of their deaths was poisoning from bongkrekic acid, a respiratory toxin that was detected in the noodles. The noodles had been frozen for several months, the outlet reported.
Gao Fei, director of food safety at the Heilongjiang Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the toxic substance can often be fatal. “It can cause serious damage to many human organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain,” Gao said. “Currently, there is no specific antidote. Once poisoned, the fatality rate can be as high as 40 to 100 percent.”
The National Health Commission issued a warning to avoid making and eating foods with fermented rice and flour, the state-run outlet China Daily reported.
“Using fresh and unspoiled food materials and frequently changing water when making food can reduce the risk of contamination, but it is best to avoid making and ingesting foods made of fermented grain entirely for safety concerns,” the advisory said.