Health department to probe deaths of children who ate ‘toxic noodles’
The national health department said on Friday it would launch an investigation into possible food poisoning in three provinces after the deaths of children who allegedly ate “toxic noodles”.
Spokesperson Foster Mohale said the department held a meeting with environmental health practitioners from the three affected provinces and municipalities — in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng — on Thursday to receive preliminary investigation reports into the childrens’ deaths.
Mohale said this would enable the department to obtain more information, including the food brand name, supplier or manufacturer and stores where the food was purchased.
“A team of environmental health experts has collected all other items related to the suspected food products and sent them to a laboratory for testing. The department will await the laboratory testing results and forensic investigations before making conclusive statements,” Mohale said.
“This crucial information will enable health officials to establish a possible link between the noodles alleged to have been consumed in the provinces and the deaths, to immediately notify the suppliers or manufacturers, while at the same time make a decision on the possible recall of all suspected food products from the shelves for large-scale laboratory testing as part of the broader investigation process to prevent the possibility of more loss of lives.”
Mohale said the nature, causes, extent and degree of the risk should first be established before affected products could be recalled.
“The investigation will also establish if local health facilities within the municipal areas had treated other patients for possible food poisoning and related symptoms, and if mortuaries had received human remains of people who died of possible food poisoning.
“The department will keep the affected families and public fully informed of any developments around the investigation.”
The department urged the public to report any suspicious food products to local authorities.
“The department would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the parents and families for the pain they are going through due to the untimely deaths of their beloved children.
“Losing a child is an extremely difficult event in anyone’s life and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this awful time.”
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