Bongkrekic acid suspected behind death of diners at Malaysian restaurant in Taiwan

By Hoang Vu   April 8, 2024 | 07:13 pm PT
Bongkrekic acid suspected behind death of diners at Malaysian restaurant in Taiwan
Tourists at a market in Taiwan. Photo by Dinh Gia Bao
Taiwan authorities suspected bongkrekic acid to be the culprit of a food poisoning outbreak at a Malaysian vegetarian restaurant in Taipei that killed two diners.

The toxin was found in fecal samples collected from a chef at the Xinyi outlet on March 27, deputy health minister Victor Wang wrote on a Facebook post on April 6.

Previous samples taken from his hands on March 24 also tested positive for the deadly toxin, of which a dose of 1mg can kill a person in a minute, The Straits Times reported.

The same toxin was found in most of the poisoned diners.

The chef underwent blood and urine tests for Bongkrekic acid on April 5, but the results returned negative, Taiwan News reported.

Health authorities suspected that the chef might not have directly eaten the food contaminated with the toxin.

In his post, Wang added that the chef's health condition was normal, adding that the chef's hands might have been contaminated while he touched ingredients during the cooking process.

Contaminated flat rice noodles in char kway teow, a Malaysian favorite dish, are the primary source of the food poisoning.

Of the 34 people who were hospitalized after dining at the restaurant between March 18 and 24, two died, seven remain hospitalized and 25 are recuperating at home as of this week, Focus Taiwan reported.

Polam Kopitiam is a popular Malaysian-themed vegetarian restaurant chain in Taiwan. It has five branches in Taiwan that specialize in serving dishes such as fried rice noodles and chicken curry.

go to top