Joanita Wibowo

Health warning after man dies from eating 5-day-old pasta

Health warning after man dies from eating 5-day-old pasta

A man has died after eating five-day-old leftover pasta.

20-year-old student AJ from Brussels, Belgium became sick after consuming leftover spaghetti with tomato sauce which had been left sitting for five days at room temperature.

After experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhoea, he attempted to sleep the sickness off, only to be found dead in the morning.

An autopsy suggested that AJ had died from food poisoning caused by bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which has been increasingly reported to cause serious and potentially fatal infections.

Dietitian and food safety expert Dorothy Richmond told SBS Food that B. cereus is commonly found in starchy food items such as pasta, noodles, rice and potatoes. The bacteria produce a toxin that cannot be removed by reheating.

According to Food Safety Information Council, leftovers should not be left at temperature danger zone (5 to 60 degrees Celsius) for more than two hours. After four hours, they should be thrown out.

The Council also recommends using up refrigerated perishable leftovers within two to three days, and making sure reheated food is hot all the way through to at least 75 degrees Celsius in the centre, in order to reduce the risks of listeria and food poisoning.