The 2008 case of a young man in Belgium who died after eating days-old pasta is regaining attention after it was recently featured on a popular medical YouTube channel.
A post-mortem examination determined that he had died at 4 a.m., and significant B. cereus, a known food-poisoning organism, were found in samples of the leftover pasta.
However, AJ was found dead by his heartbroken parents 11 hours later, who had become concerned after he'd missed class.
According to Dr Bernard, who looked into the weird story on his Youtube channel, AJ put the bowl of stale food in the microwave to heat it up and ate it for lunch, not realising it was five days old.
Fecal swabs revealed the presence of Bacillus cereus, a bacteria responsible for "fried rice syndrome", food poisoning commonly caused by leaving fried rice dishes sitting at room temperature for several hours.
Public Health England states that the spores of some Bacillus bacteria can survive cooking and "subsequently germinate and grow under favorable conditions, particularly in warm kitchens".
According to Foodsafety.gov, illness caused by bacillus cereus can be caused by a "variety of foods". While mild food poisoning is relatively common, it is very unusual for cases to escalate to this severity. "If the food smells amusing, it's always better to be safe than sorry", Dr. Bernard, a licensed practitioner who reviewed the case, said. He describes AJ as "an otherwise healthy 20-year-old man".
"The final link in this case comes not from the pasta but the stomach medicine that AJ drank after initially vomiting".
Bernard also noted that A.J.'s case is not typical. "Many people eat pasta, or any other form of noodles, that are leftover for a day or two and they're fine", he said, "but be careful of food left out for more than a few hours. But tragic cases like this one have been reported in literature", he said. "If the food smells amusing, it's always better to be safe than sorry", he said. He would boil pasta and then put it into Tupperware containers to be eaten during the week after adding a sauce and reheating it, according to Dr Bernard. However, it serves as a reminder to be wary of food left out without being refrigerated.
His video has been viewed over a million times. Here's How Eating Leftover Food Could Be Damaging Your Health.