According to Mpumalanga police, at this stage, it is mere “speculation” that Thato and Keamogetswe Makofane died from eating poisoned noodles.
A couple of weeks ago, Thato (9) and Keamogetswe (13) were declared dead after being taken to a clinic, they had allegedly eaten two-minute noodles before school.
According police spokesperson, Constable Busisiwe Mthethwa said that in the absence of a post-mortem report, there was no evidence to suggest that the noodles caused their deaths.
“All we know at this stage, and according to the mom, is that was the first thing they ate that morning. We are still waiting for the results of the post-mortem. So, for now, we can’t confirm and it’s just speculation,” she said.
Mthethwa said that police could not immediately link the children’s deaths to the recent case of the three Eastern Cape children who died shortly after eating noodles. The Department of Health has initiated an urgent investigation into possible food poisoning in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
Spokesperson Foster Mohale said that the department met the environmental health practitioners from the three affected provinces on Thursday to receive preliminary reports into the children’s deaths.
The department wanted more information, including the food name brand, supplier or manufacturer and the stores where the food was purchased.
“A team of environmental health experts have collected all other items related to the suspected food products, and sent them to the laboratory for testing. The department will await the laboratory testing results and forensic investigations before making a conclusive statement. This crucial information will enable the health officials to establish a possible link between the noodles alleged to have been consumed in the provinces and the deaths, in order to immediately notify the suppliers or manufacturers.”
Mohale said it would also allow the department to make a decision on the possible recall of all suspected food products from the shelves, for large-scale laboratory testing as part of the broader investigation to prevent the possibility of more deaths.
The investigation will further establish if the health facilities within the municipal areas had treated other patients for possible food poisoning and related symptoms, and if mortuaries had received human remains of people who had died of possible food poisoning.
The department would keep the affected families and public fully informed of any developments around the investigation.
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