A study published by the NCBI in 2011 is just now going viral after YouTuber Chubbyemu looked at the facts of the case in a video posted last week. “Sudden Death of A Young Adult Associated with Bacillus cereus Food Poisoning” examined the 2008 death of a Belgian college student who died 10 hours after eating pasta he reportedly left out at room temperature for five days.
According to the paper, the young man ate spaghetti with tomato sauce that had been made almost a week earlier and had been left in a kitchen unrefrigerated for as much time. He reheated the pasta, “left home for his sports activities, but he returned 30 min later because of headache, abdominal pain, and nausea. At his arrival, he vomited profusely for several hours and at midnight had two episodes of watery diarrhea.”
The study goes on to explain the student took no meds and only consumed water after feeling sick. It also notes he fell asleep around midnight and likely died around 4 a.m., though it was only after his parents hadn’t heard from him around 11 a.m. that they found him unconscious.
INSIDER reports both the pasta and pasta sauce were tested and an autopsy was conducted. The latter found liver necrosis, acute pancreatitis, and Bacillus cereus, a bacteria that was also found in the pasta sample. That same bacteria is known for causing “fried rice syndrome,” or toxic food poisoning-like symptoms associated with eating food that’s been sitting at room temperature for too long.
Chubbyemu (a licensed healthcare professional) stresses these cases are found quite commonly in a much milder form—death by fried rice syndrome is much rarer.
You can read the study in full here.