Skip to comments.Cassava kills 30 kids in Bohol
Posted on 03/10/2005 12:50:44 AM PST by freepatriot32
Thirty elementary school children died of food poisoning yesterday after eating a native delicacy made from cassava flour at the San Jose Elementary School in Mabini town, Bohol.
San Jose Vice Mayor Ester Tabigi said authorities had not yet determined exactly how many children had fallen ill, but at least 50 were still in critical condition last night in various hospitals in the nearby towns of Ubay and Talibon. Some children were brought as far as the provincial capital of Tagbilaran City, some 100 kilometers from Mabini.
Reports said the children, mostly second and third-grade pupils, started complaining of stomach pains and dizziness right after eating the cassava cake, known locally as maruya, during the morning recess at around 10:30.
"At 12 noon, teachers started to send victims to hospitals for treatment. Unfortunately, many of them failed to make it," said Philip Puderanan, public information officer of the Bohol Municipal Hall.
Senior Superintendent Sancho Bernales, chief of the Bohol police, said the children were taken to different hospitals in the province for medical treatment.
Military trucks reportedly helped bring the children to hospitals, the nearest of which was 20 to 30 kilometers away in Ubay town.
Of the 19 children taken to the Lita Cotamora Clinic in Ubay, 14 died and five were transferred to the nearby government-owned Don Emilio del Valle Hospital, where 20 other victims were confined. There were also two deaths reported at the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran.
Doctors who attended to the victims said food poisoning was the cause of death.
Sketchy reports said at least two women were responsible for selling the cassava cakes to the San Jose school children. One was identified as Aning Luyong, 60, who reportedly regularly sold snacks at the school. Luyong was said to have eaten the rest of the cassava cakes after the children fell ill and is now also in critical condition.
Another vendor, a 68-year-old woman, is reportedly now under the custody of Mabini town Mayor Stephen Rances.
"Kung puwedeng humingi kami ng tulong at mapa-imbestigahan ang pagkamatay ng mga bata. Kailangan namin ang mga experts para matulungan kami (We are appealing for help in investigating the cause of death of the children. We need experts)," Rances said yesterday.
Bohol Vice Gov. Julius Cesar Herrera said provincial health authorities in Tagbilaran will conduct further investigation to determine the victims exact cause of death.
The Department of Health has also sent medical experts to Mabini yesterday to investigate the incident. Tapped to conduct the probe were disease experts from the DOHs Regional Service Unit in Bohol.
"The hospitals have enough manpower and supply to handle this. We are coordinating with our people in the field," Dr. Yolando Oliveros, head executive assistant of Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit, said.
Meanwhile, Bohol native George Evardo, a radio reporter, said cassava, known locally as balanghoy, should be cooked properly, especially during the hot season, as the wrong process can lead to bacterial poisoning. With reports from Cecille Suerte Felipe, Shiela Crisostomo, AFP
Ricin mixed into the flour? Cyanide? Hard to believe that simple cassava flour did this alone.
These poor kids...
in my last post it should be spelled Abu Sayyaf
I have to believe this is much more than simple food poisoning. Bacteria doesn't make you sick right after you eat it unless it's a poison like botulism.
story for your ping lists perhaps
Like almonds and peach or apricot pits, manioc root (casava) contains natural cyanide compounds that improper preparation doesn't remove. Shred; squeeze; soak; squeeze; (repeat? Not sure.) dry; powder, grind, or rice; then prepare.
The women may have obtained improperly prepared or contaminated flour.
And to think we had tapioca for desert tonight.
No question in my mind that we should conform our food quality and inspection standards to those of South America, this to be politically correct.
Prayers on the way.
Prayers for the victims and those who mourn.
The roots of the cassava plant, a major crop in tropical countries, are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins. However, cassava is poisonous unless it is peeled and thoroughly cooked. If it is eaten raw or prepared incorrectly, one of its chemical constituents will be attacked by digestive enzymes and give off the deadly poison cyanide. As little as two cassava roots can contain a fatal dose.
"Some said they took only two bites because it tasted bitter and the effects were felt five to 10 minutes later," said Harold Gallego of Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital in the nearby town of Talibon, where 47 patients were taken.
I always wondered how people first discovered the safe way to eat cassava. I mean, why did folks keep trying if the first to eat it got sick and died? How many died before someone smart enough figured out you had to peel, cook, mash/squeeze, recook, and remash/squeeze? Why did they keep trying? Why not move on to coconuts or something?
The author of this article is not familiar with casaba, known as yuca in this country. He says, should be cooked properly Heck, there is only one way to cook it. It is to boil it whether in soup or plain water (like one boils a potato). If it is cooked in plain water, it is then generally sliced and fried; or it is mashed (after boiling of course), filled with a meat filling (like a taco), and then into the frying pan to deep fry. These children did not get sick from the casaba unless poison was added to it. They got sick from the filling.
I'm really having a problem with this article.
The yuka has a hard skin. What was fun, was taking this hard skin, after peeling way the outer portion of the skin, we, as children, used to take those discarded peelings and cut them into funny teeth and wear them in our mouths. None of us dropped dead from that. We are still around.
Oh, I forgot. The yuca was in its raw state when we would make these "false" teeth and wear them.
The water leaches the poison out and has to be drained off, not boiled down. I imagine someone accidentally let it boil too long and the toxins were reabsorbed.
Heh. Am I the only freeper who has eaten cassava cakes? I've even made a few. My suspicion is the cassava root can vary in the amount of cyanide it contains. I've eaten the root many times in Cuban and Latin restaurants. It's prepared as you describe. Cassava is very common in Brazil and Africa
Cassava cakes are a bit different, are made from the processed then dried out cassava toot. It's turned into something akin to wheat flour that can be stored from season to season. It can be transported and sold as a commodity. When it's processed the cyanide compounds are leached out, then the stuff is dried out into a coarse flour. Water is added to make a cake that can be fried on your griddle like a corn cake. You can buy this flour in markets in Africa. The flour I got here (USA) was from Nigeria. The fresh root in the (USA) supermarkets comes from the Caribbean, though I ate some a friend grew in Florida
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.