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Taiwan’s Polam Kopitiam food poisoning: Another fatality raises toll to four

Another tragic fatality linked to suspected food poisoning at Polam Kopitiam in Taiwan raises the death toll to four. Authorities investigating the outbreak found a potentially lethal toxin in the chef’s stool, underscoring the severity of the situation.



TAIWAN: Another individual passed away on 29 April due to suspected food poisoning after dining at a Malaysian vegetarian restaurant, Polam Kopitiam, in Taiwan, as reported by local media.

This incident raises the death toll from the Polam Kopitiam food poisoning outbreak to four, as confirmed by Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare, Victor Wang.

The recent fatality, identified as a 40-year-old woman, marks the second death within a span of three days.

The first fatality occurred on 27 April due to multiple organ failure.

The woman had consumed char kway teow at the restaurant in mid-March and subsequently experienced symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea upon returning home.

Mr Wang disclosed that the woman had been admitted to the intensive care unit for over a month, battling organ failure and infections before succumbing to multiple organ failure at 3 am on 29 April.

According to reports from Focus Taiwan, 35 individuals have fallen ill after dining at the eatery, with four fatalities reported so far.

Among the affected, two individuals remain in severe condition, with one undergoing liver transplant surgery and the other hospitalized.

In March, two men succumbed to suspected food poisoning following their meal at the eatery.

Authorities investigating the outbreak discovered a potentially lethal toxin in the stool of the restaurant’s chef.

The toxin, identified as bongkrekic acid, was found in faecal samples obtained from the chef of the Xinyi outlet on 27 March, as disclosed by Mr Wang in a Facebook post on 6 April.

Prior samples collected from the chef’s hands on 24 March also tested positive for the deadly toxin, known to be fatal even in minute doses of 1mg.

Reports from local media indicated that the same toxin was detected in the majority of the affected diners.

After these findings, all Polam Kopitiam outlets were instructed to cease operations during the ongoing investigations, although Mr Wang emphasized that the outbreak appeared confined to the Xinyi branch.

Despite passing a food safety inspection in 2022, Taipei health inspectors uncovered unsanitary conditions upon visiting the eatery after the outbreak.

Reports revealed instances of cockroach droppings on the premises, knives improperly stored next to the sink, and a failure to provide employee health records.

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