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Bongkrekic acid found in 8 food poisoning cases; none in food samples

03/29/2024 09:15 PM
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Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang (left) is joined by Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun to provide updates regarding the food poisoning cases in Taipei Friday evening. CNA photo March 29, 2024
Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang (left) is joined by Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun to provide updates regarding the food poisoning cases in Taipei Friday evening. CNA photo March 29, 2024

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) The latest data indicates that all eight individuals designated "severe cases" in an ongoing food poisoning outbreak have tested positive for the toxin Bongkrekic acid, but none was found in food samples, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday.

At a press conference, CDC Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said that among the eight cases, two have died, five remain in intensive care, and one is being treated in a general ward.

As of 5:30 p.m. on Friday, 21 people had reported falling ill after eating at the Xinyi branch of the Malaysian restaurant chain Polam Kopitiam in Taipei.

Of those, 18 sought medical attention in the Greater Taipei area and Tainan after visiting the restaurant between March 19 and March 24, according to CDC figures.

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun. CNA photo March 29, 2024
Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun. CNA photo March 29, 2024

Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Victor Wang (王必勝) said that tests conducted on 19 food samples from the restaurant and its suppliers, including two types of rice noodles -- flat rice noodle and vermicelli -- and pandan leaves, tested negative for Bongkrekic acid.

Wang said that a total of 35 samples were collected at the restaurant. Three priority samples of the two types of rice noodles and pandan leaves, along with 16 other samples of two types of rice noodles from the supplier, Jiang Da Co., tested negative for Bongkrekic acid, Wang added.

Tests are still to be conducted on 32 other food samples, which do not include rice noodles, but do include seasoning powder, soy sauce, and other items, Wang said.

Despite the negative results of tests on both types of rice noodles from the supplier and restaurant, Wang noted that rice noodles remain a key focus in the food poisoning outbreak.

In addition, Wang noted that the ministry is currently retrieving all rice noodles sold by the supplier to downstream manufacturers to test and prevent further escalation of the outbreak.

(By Chen Chieh-ling, Shen Pei-yao and Evelyn Yang)

Enditem/AW

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