Cause found in food poisoning case that hospitalised over 400 people in Vĩnh Phúc

May 21, 2024 - 16:48
The food poisoning incident in Vĩnh Phúc saw 438 people rushed to hospital following a company lunch, although all of them were discharged after a week of treatment.


Workers hospitalised due to food poisoning were being treated at Lạc Việt Friendship Hospital. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Hùng

HÀ NỘI The bacteria Bacillus cereus was detected in the food samples found to be the primary cause in the food poisoning case at Shinwon Ebenezer Vietnam Co., Ltd. that saw over 400 people taken to hospital in Vĩnh Phúc in April.

Lê Hồng Trung, Director of the Vĩnh Phúc Department of Health revealed the cause of the mass food poisoning incident at the National Conference on Strengthening Food Safety and Preventing Food Poisoning on Tuesday, adding that all of those hospitalised have now been discharged.

The mass food poisoning incident happened at around 3.30pm on April 15, after workers had their lunch. They started to vomit, suffer from abdominal pain and headaches and 438 of them were rushed to medical facilities in Vĩnh Yên City. The workers reported that their lunch consisted of stir-fried turkey with lemongrass and chili, stir-fried cauliflower, pickled vegetables and bean sprout soup.

"Bacillus cereus bacteria were detected in the food samples, identified as one of the main causes of food poisoning," Trung said. "This result was compiled from samples tested, including food ingredients, water sources, environment and patient waste. This bacterium produces two main toxins that cause vomiting and diarrhoea, which aligns with the symptoms exhibited by the food poisoning victims." 

Trung said the food item which had caused the sickness was the sour soup with bean sprouts, which included ingredients like tamarind, spring onions and coriander. The investigation revealed that on that particular day, there was a shortage of six kilograms of bean sprouts during the menu preparation and so kitchen staff had bought additional supplies from Vĩnh Yên Market.

Although the vegetable supplier for the kitchen met food safety standards, the additional vegetables bought from the market did not go through the supplier. Provincial authorities are continuing to investigate to clarify further details.

Nguyễn Thanh Phong, Director of the MoH's Food Safety Department pointed out that although many food shops do possess a Certificate of Food Safety, ingredients can be sourced from anywhere in the market and can lack clear origins and are unregulated.

"Hence, regular inspections and sample storage must be conducted to prevent food poisoning incidents," said Phong.

Permanent Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên praised Vĩnh Phúc Province's quick response to the poisoning incident, which ensured that all patients were discharged without any fatalities.

Tuyên also stressed the importance of tracing the exact cause, from food supply to processing and consumption and the need to impose severe penalties on organisations or individuals violating food safety regulations. VNS