Food poisoning blamed on cassava
Cook cassava properly.
A health official issued the advice as cassava that is improperly cooked may have caused food poisoning which resulted in the death of a six-year-old boy in Dumanjug town, southern Cebu.
“We still need to get validation, but we are basing this on the manifestations. We’ve seen a number of cases like this, with history pointing to eating cassava,” said Dr. Cynthia Genosolango, head of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Noven Pasuquin Monteza died after he and his siblings Dexter, 2, and Marilyn, 9, complained of abdominal pains after eating cassava for dinner last Tuesday.
Genosolango said vomiting, abdominal pains and haziness can lead to death especially if cyanide is involved.
If cassava is not properly prepared and cooked, residue of cyanide, a naturally occurring substance in the root crop, may still remain, Genosolango said.
“It has been proven by toxicology studies that cyanide is a very fatal substance once it gets into our system. It has a specific pathology that causes oxygen to detach from our cells,” said Genosolango.
Genosolango said initial impressions point to cyanide poisoning as the cause of death in the Dumanjug tragedy.
The case has been referred to the Regional Epidimiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) for further study.
Genosolango said there is no advisory prohibiting the consumption of cassava especially among children.
She said that cassava is edible for as long as it is cooked well.
“The process can probably destroy traces of cyanide if there are any left,” she added.
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