Lethal toxin found in blood samples of victim who died after eating char kway teow in Taiwan

Taiwan restaurant poisoning case: Victim’s blood samples had lethal toxin bongkrekic acid

A lethal toxin was found in the blood samples of one of the men who died after eating char kway teow in Taiwan.

Investigators suspect that the toxin was contained in the noodles and are investigating the restaurant’s suppliers to locate the source of the toxin.

Source: Google Maps

Meanwhile, the number of people who developed symptoms after dining at the restaurant last week has increased to 25.

Forensic examination finds lethal toxin in victim who died after eating char kway teow in Taiwan

During a press conference on Thursday (28 March) night, Wang Pi-Sheng — Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare — revealed that bongkrekic acid was found in blood samples of one of the deceased.

Source: Taiwan SETNEWS Live Channel on YouTube

This is reportedly the first time the fatal toxin has led to deaths in Taiwan.

Wang stated that this is consistent with an expert panel’s findings earlier in the week. However, he stressed that this is not the conclusion of the investigations, which is pending “comprehensive assessment by prosecutors“.

The deputy minister explained that he only shared the results of the forensic examination due to the public’s concern, reports Focus Taiwan.

Singapore Food Agency describes bongkrekic acid as a “rare toxin” produced during the production of fermented corn and coconut-based products.

The toxin affects the liver, brain, and kidneys, and can be life-threatening in severe cases.

According to Taipei Times, experts suspect the toxin was found in the noodles. Officials are currently inspecting the restaurant’s supplier to determine the origins of the toxin.

As of 10am on Saturday (30 March), 25 individuals who dined at Polam Kopitiam’s outlet in Xinyi District, Taipei suffered food poisoning symptoms.

Source: Google Maps

These include two men who passed away due to suspected food poisoning after eating char kway teow at the vegetarian restaurant.

Source: Google Maps. For illustration purposes only.

Another five individuals are currently receiving intensive care.

Franchise owner, manager, and cook barred from leaving island

Three individuals linked to the case have been questioned and are barred from leaving the island:

  • Li Fang-hsuan — franchise owner
  • Mr Wang — store manager
  • Mr Hu — cook

Source: Taipei Times

Speaking to prosecutors, Mr Hu (name transliterated from Chinese) claimed he was a “substitute” for the regular chef, who had gone on vacation.

He had only been in charge of kitchen operations for just nine days until the restaurant chain was ordered to suspend operations in Taipei.

Mr Hu told prosecutors that he followed “proper procedures” when cooking and said Mr Li and Mr Wang were the ones in charge of ordering and storing ingredients.

The regular chef, who returned to Taiwan on Friday (29 March), also underwent questioning.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese authorities have fined Mr Li NTD2.5 million (S$105,593) for providing false information on the restaurant’s business registration.

Also read: 2 customers die after suspected food poisoning from eating char kway teow at M’sian restaurant in Taiwan

2 customers die after suspected food poisoning from eating char kway teow at M’sian restaurant in Taiwan

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