A family of nine from China have died after eating homemade noodles that were in the freezer for a year.

The noodle dish called Suantangzi, a popular local Chinese delicacy, contains fermented cornmeal.

In this case, it had spoiled from being frozen, poisoning the family with bongkrek acid - a toxin that formed on in the meal, according to local authorities.

The family, from the city of Jixi in China's northeastern province of Heilongjiang, ate the deadly dish for breakfast on October 5 and began feeling ill not long after.

A family of nine from China died after eating homemade noodles that were in the freezer for a year. Picture: Supplied
A family of nine from China died after eating homemade noodles that were in the freezer for a year. Picture: Supplied

By October 10, seven family members were dead.

On October 12, an eighth person died. And the final surviving adult who also ate the soup dish, a mother surnamed Li, died on Monday.

Three children in the family had refused to eat the thick type of noodle made from cornflour, complaining about the taste.

After spending 12 months in the freezer, a high concentration of bongkrek acid, a respiratory toxin produced by the bacterium pseudomonas cocovenenans, was detected in the dish.

It was also discovered in the gastric fluid of the adults, the Health Commission of Heilongjiang Province said.

The noodles, which are made from fermented cornflour, poisoned the family with bongkrek acid, according to experts. Picture: Supplied
The noodles, which are made from fermented cornflour, poisoned the family with bongkrek acid, according to experts. Picture: Supplied

Gao Fei, director of food safety at the Heilongjiang Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said the results can often be fatal.

"It can cause serious damage to many human organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain," Mr 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."

The symptoms of bongkrek poisoning typically begin within a few hours of eating contaminated food, and include stomach pain, sweating, general weakness and eventual coma. Death can then occur within 24 hours.

 

 

Bongkrek acid has been implicated in outbreaks of foodborne illness involving coconut and corn-based products in Indonesia and China.

The acid cannot be removed even if thoroughly cooked and there is no medicine available to treat such cases of poisoning, Global Times reported, adding to avoid poisoning, people should not use soaked or mouldy corn to make food, and to not make or eat any food made from fermented grains.

Originally published as Family of nine dies after eating noodles


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