Nine people from the same family died after eating noodles that were left in a freezer. The noodles, which were kept in the freezer for over a year, contained fermented corn flour, which poisoned the family with bongrekik acid.
Seven adults, from the city of Jixi in China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang, died on October 10 after eating the dish called Suantangzi, a local Chinese delicacy, five days earlier. The final surviving family member who ate the soup, a woman named locally as Li, died on Monday, Daily Star reports. Luckily, three children who had been served the corn noodle meal at the family occasion had refused to eat it because they didn’t like the taste.
Gao Fei, director of food safety at the Heilongjiang Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told China News Service that bongkrek acid poisoning is often fatal. 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 occur within 24 hours.
“It can cause serious damage to many human organs including the liver, kidneys, heart, and brain,” Mr Gao said. “Currently, there is no specific antidote. Once poisoned, the fatality rate can be as high as 40% to 100%.” Mr Gao said bongkrek acid is resistant to being boiled at high temperatures. Bongkrek acid is a deadly toxin produced in fermented coconut. The traditional Indonesian dish tempe bongkrèk has been banned because it has been linked to so many deaths.
Between 1951 and 1975, an average of 288 poisonings and 34 deaths ascribed to bongkrek acid were reported in Indonesia every year. Djenkol beans, another Indonesian delicacy, have also been blamed for numerous deaths. Bongkrek acid contamination in locally-produced beer was also blamed for 75 deaths and over 200 hospitalisations after a funeral in Mozambique.