Pasta and spaghetti are popular dishes around the world, especially in Italy. However, a recent incident has left everyone shocked. In Brussels, a 20-year-old named AJ tragically lost his life after eating reheated pasta in tomato sauce. It has been reported that the pasta was prepared five days prior and left in the kitchen. After returning from school, AJ microwaved the pasta and ate it before going out to play. However, shortly afterward, he experienced nausea, abdominal pain, and a headache.

Based on an article in a journal, roughly 30 minutes later, he returned home and began to suffer from intense vomiting. He had continuous diarrhea that was watery, and he went to bed around midnight. His parents only became aware of this in the morning at around 11 am, and when they examined him, they found that their son had passed away."

The Bacterial Culprit:

After a post-mortem examination, it was revealed that AJ's death was due to the presence of Bacillus cereus bacteria in the food. The investigation further unveiled that the young man had also suffered from Centrilobular Liver Necrosis, which had caused his organs to stop functioning. Keeping pasta outside for several days had allowed the bacteria to grow rapidly, increasing the toxicity of the food to 14.8 μg/g, ultimately leading to the young man's tragic death.

Understanding Fried Rice Syndrome:

This incident also shed light on "Fried Rice Syndrome," a term that went viral on TikTok in 2011. It refers to "food poisoning caused by reheating previously cooked food." Foods such as rice, potatoes, and pasta are commonly associated with this syndrome. Consuming such food can result in a person's death within 6-7 hours.

The Danger Within the Gut:

Moreover, keeping reheated food at room temperature for an extended period increases the risk of contamination by bacteria. This contaminated food can also lead to toxicity within the intestines. Ingesting such food can result in intestinal toxicity within 15 hours, affecting various food items, including fish, meat, sauces, soups, and dairy products.

Ensuring Safe Food Consumption:

According to the National Health Service (NHS), it is crucial to serve rice immediately after cooking, or if not, cool it within an hour and refrigerate. Reheating should be done thoroughly, but never reheated more than once. Even if reheated, it should be heated thoroughly, and reheating multiple times should be avoided.


This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of food safety. It underscores the need for utmost care in food handling, storage, and consumption. Ensuring that food is prepared, stored, and consumed safely is essential to prevent such unfortunate events and safeguard the well-being of everyone.


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