Multinational supermarket chain Carrefour SA has been ordered to remove all packaged salt products from the shelves of its store in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, after a family six were taken to hospital earlier this week in a suspected case of food poisoning from sodium nitrite, New Express Daily reported.
Initial test results from the China Food and Drug Administration indicate the presence of sodium nitrite in salt samples taken from the house of the victims.
Sodium nitrite is a common ingredient used by food manufacturers to preserve meat and prevent bacterial growth.
The six victims complained of dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea 30 minutes after having lunch on Tuesday. Three of the victims were discharged after initial treatment, while the remaining three, including an 80-year-old woman, remained in critical condition.
A hospital spokesperson said the case was rather uncommon, as the blood samples drawn from the six patients was black in color, which did not conform with most food poisoning cases.
One of the victims said all of the ingredients used in preparing the food for the family’s lunch were thoroughly cooked and there was no abnormal taste. The woman, however, recalled buying a new pack of salt from Carrefour store for two yuan.
A Carrefour spokesperson said all packaged salt products have been removed from the store pending further investigation and tests by authorities.
Other agencies have joined the investigation, including the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Haizhu district Police Bureau and the Guangzhou Bureau of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.
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