Food poisoning entails the consumption of contaminated foodstuff consisting of infectious organisms such as parasites, viruses, toxins, and bacteria.
Contamination is a notable aspect of food poisoning, and it may happen at the point of food production or processing.
Additionally, it might happen in households or canteens if food is not properly cooked, handled or stored.
A famous food poisoning case resurfaced recently involving a Belgian student aged twenty (20) years as parents protest the rule on prohibiting taking packed lunch to school by students.
The student heated spaghetti with tomato sauce which was left on the kitchen counter for five (5) days. Tragically, the Belgian student died ten hours later in his sleep after ingesting the spaghetti.
One recorded case of food poisoning in schools occurred on the afternoon of Monday 9 July 1990, where more than 50 children suffered from acute gastroenteritis but recovered sufficiently to be discharged home within six hours of the onset of illness. This happened in the city of London, United Kingdom.
Food poisoning can be fatal
Food poisoning is life-threatening based on its severity. Some of its symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, and fever among others, can emerge after a few hours of consuming contaminated food.
The 2008 occurrence involving the Belgian student was highlighted in Clinical Microbiology’s Journal.
Additionally, it was shown in Chubbyemu, a YouTube channel showcasing unusual medical narratives.
According to the medical journal, upon the consumption of the pasta, the student became sick in thirty minutes. He experienced headache, nausea, and internal distress.
After experiencing these symptoms, the student drank water and slept as he thought he could get better. Nevertheless, he neither took any medication nor obtained any medical intervention.
At midnight, he dozed off after lengthy vomiting. Unfortunately, his parents found him dead the following morning.
Food poisoning can cause organ failure
Following an autopsy, it was revealed that the most probable cause of the student’s death was a complete shutdown of his liver as well as the presence of pancreatitis.
According to Dr. Andrew Ordon, a member of The Doctors, the student was a victim of fried rice syndrome, a generic name used to depict a type of food poisoning. Some of its characteristics include being potentially lethal and quite virulent.
Fried rice syndrome is triggered by a bacteria known as Bacillus cereus that usually multiplies quickly if food, especially rice, is left at room temperature. Additionally, pasta is highly prone to Bacillus cereus if it is not refrigerated.
Food poisoning can be averted through proper food storage, such as refrigeration. Ordon asserts that the Belgian student’s death could have been averted if the pasta had been stored correctly.
Food poisoning is a valid concern against canteen food
Food poisoning is an issue that has gained attention after a court upheld that Italian schools have a right to refuse packed lunch from home.
This decision was, however, faulted by parents who believe that canteen meals tend towards being unhealthy, and this compromises quality and hygiene.
In the case of the children in the London school, the unusual outbreak of acute gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren displayed several of the typical features of mass psychogenic illness.
Detailed investigation, however, clearly suggested that a toxic agent in the food served at lunch was the primary cause of the outbreak.
Some students with food allergies require careful selection of ingredients that go into packed lunches from home. The school should guarantee the safety of all the choices on the canteen’s menu if packed lunches from home are prohibited.