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Urgent Notice from NHC: Avoid Eating Foods with Fermented Rice and Flour!

At the night of October 19, National Health Commission released an urgent notice: Avoid eating fermented foods with rice and flour.


On October 5, 2020, 9 people in Jidong County, Heilongjiang Province, died from food poisoning after eating Suantangzi (homemade corn noodles) on a family gathering. Suantangzi contaminated by a deadly bacterium is the main cause of food poisoning.


Suantangzi is one food in Northern China made of fermented corn flour that looks like thick noodles. Foods with fermented rice and flour made in summer and autumn are easily contaminated by pseudomonas cocovenenans. This bacterium generates deadly bongkrekic acid and the toxin cannot be damaged by boiling the food in high temperature. There is no specific antidote for the poisoning and the fatality rate can be as high as 50%. Delicacies in Northern China, such as Chouchazi, Suantangzi, Gegedou, and delicacies in Southern China, such as Tangyuan, Diaojiangba and Hefen (rice noodle), are most easily to cause disease.


14 food poisoning incidents due to ingesting foods with fermented rice and flour has happened nationwide since 2010. 84 people got poisoned and 37 people died.


Using spoiled food materials is the main cause of fermented grain poisoning. Using fresh and unspoiled food materials and frequently changing water when making food can reduce the risk of contamination, but it is best to avoid making and ingesting foods made of fermented grain entirely for safety concerns.



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