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Can You Die From Eating Leftovers? One Student Did

For many people, there’s nothing better than eating their leftovers the next day. Maybe they couldn’t finish their takeaway from the night before, or they purposefully cooked too much so they wouldn’t have to cook the next day, but eating leftover food can make you sick if it’s not contained wisely or covered properly, or reheated more than once and left for too long. And in some cases, it can even be fatal.

The dangers of eating leftovers that were not stored correctly were highlighted in the tragic case of a Belgian student who reheated some pasta and later died from the spore-forming bacteria called Bacillus cereus. The 2008 case was featured in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology but made headlines more recently after it was discussed on a YouTube channel.

According to Health, the story goes like this: The student reheated his leftover pasta with tomato sauce, which had been sitting on his kitchen counter for days, he then went to play sports, and just one hour later he was experiencing nausea, headaches, and abdominal pain. He was unwell, but he felt that he had food poisoning and went to sleep in the hopes that we would feel better when he woke up. He sadly didn’t wake up and is believed to have died from liver failure.

Inside Edition spoke to Dr. Andrew Ordon of the American talk show, The Doctors, who explained that what the student had was often referred to as “fried rice syndrome." The syndrome is “a generic term for a form of food poisoning, which is actually quite virulent, potentially lethal, which is caused by a specific bacteria called Bacillus cereus.”

The error the student made was eating food which had been left on the kitchen counter for days, instead of placing it in his refrigerator within two hours after it was cooked. According to Inside Edition, this is not the only case of people dying, or getting violently ill, from eating food with Bacillus cereus, and pasta is an ideal food for the bacteria to live in. When left at room temperature the bacteria multiples and can be potentially lethal.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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