How many times have you left the pizza on the counter overnight and then eaten a piece the next day? If you are a college student that is likely the way you survived your freshman year. In 2008, the Journal of Clinical Microbiology reported on a curious and tragic case about a young man who passed away just hours after consuming his dinner.
20 year old Belgian student named AJ returned home and reheated a bowl of left-over spaghetti in the microwave and then ate it. The food had been sitting out on the counter in room temperature for five days.
The story recently came back into the spotlight where it quickly gone viral with millions of views.
AJ went outside with his friends and played sports until her came back thirty minutes later feeling he was extremely ill, vomiting, headaches and cramps. He felt so sick that he made his way home and went to bed.
AJ assumed he food poising so he went to sleep it off. In the morning his parents checked on him the next morning, but there was no movement from their son.
It turns out, AJ suffered from a condition known as”fried rice syndrome.” An autopsy later revealed the real reason for his liver failure. It was concluded the spaghetti teamed with Bacillus cereus, a bacterium which causes food poisoning and survives the heat caused AJ’s fatality.
This serves as a cautionary tale for us all. Do not eat food that’s left at room temperatures for extended amounts of time. Refrigerate food as quickly as possible, wash your hands, wipe down counters, and keep utensils and dishes clean to prevent the growth and spread of microscopic organisms.
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