- The Department of Health has initiated an investigation into possible food poisoning in three provinces.
- This comes after the deaths of children who died after allegedly eating noodles.
- The department says a team of environmental health experts has collected all other items related to the suspected food products and sent them to the laboratory for testing.
The Department of Health has initiated an urgent investigation into possible food poisoning in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng following the deaths of children after allegedly consuming noodles.
Spokesperson Foster Mohale said on Friday that the department held an exigent meeting on Thursday with the Environmental Health Practitioners from the three affected provinces and municipalities to receive preliminary investigation reports into the children's deaths to obtain more information, including the food brand name, supplier or manufacturer, and stores where the food was purchased.
A team of environmental health experts has also collected all other items related to the suspected food products and sent them for testing to a laboratory.
Mohale said a conclusive statement will be made upon the completion of the laboratory testing results and forensic investigations.
"This crucial information will enable health officials to establish a possible link between the noodles alleged to have been consumed in the provinces and the deaths in order to immediately notify the suppliers or manufacturers while at the same time make a decision on the possible recall of all suspected food products from the shelves for large scale laboratory testing as part of the broader investigation process to prevent [the] possibility of more loss of lives," said Mohale.
According to Mohale, the investigation is also intended to establish if the local health facilities within the municipal areas where the children had died had treated other patients for possible food poisoning and related symptoms and if mortuaries received human remains of people who died as a result of possible food poisoning.
News24 has reported on several mysterious deaths of children after allegedly consuming noodles.
On Wednesday, it was reported that two Mpumalanga siblings died within an hour of each other after allegedly eating noodles last week.
The publication also reported that three children, aged 11 and seven, as well as a six-month-old baby boy in the Eastern Cape.
The children allegedly started feeling ill after eating a packet of noodles died on their way to the Motherwell clinic.
Mohale said members of the public are encouraged to report any suspicious food products to the local authorities.
"They are further encouraged to practice good hygiene when handling any food, including checking the labelling for best before or related dates and condition of the foodstuffs and the packaging."
Mohale said the department extends its heartfelt condolences to the affected families.
"Losing a child is an extremely difficult event in anyone's life, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this awful time," it concluded.