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9 family members die after eating homemade corn noodles

Nine family members from Jixi City, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, died after eating homemade corn noodles. The latest poisoning victim was confirmed dead on Monday after being treated in a hospital, Red Star News reported.

At a 12-member family reunion on the morning of October 5, nine older family members ate “Suantangzi,” a type of thick noodle made from fermented corn flour. Three young people in attendance refused to try the food because of the odd taste, according to the local government.

The nine people who ate the noodles felt sick several hours later and eight were confirmed dead on October 11, while the only survivor – a 47-year-old woman surnamed Li – was treated in a hospital. Li died at noon Monday, according to her son.

A high concentration of bongkrekic acid, a respiratory toxin produced by the bacterium pseudomonas cocovenenans, has been detected in corn noodles, as well as in the gastric fluid of those who have fallen ill, the provincial health commission said on the 12th. October.

It was also found that the ingredients for the homemade food had been frozen for almost a year.

Bongkrekic acid is a main cause of poisoning by fermented flour products and spoiled fresh white mushrooms, as well as other bad starch products, experts said.

Consumption of food contaminated with bongkrekic acid can lead to poisoning in both humans and animals and even lead to death, with death rates as high as 40 to 100 percent.

To avoid poisoning, experts reminded the public to avoid cooking food with soaked or moldy corn, and not to prepare or eat foods made from fermented grains.

Zhou Jiaxin contributed to the story.

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