Police have been investigating the deaths of three young children from Gqeberha who allegedly started feeling ill after eating a packet of noodles bought from a local store.
Merely days later, 9-year-old Thato and 13-year-old Keamogetswe Makofane from Mpumalanga were declared dead after being taken to a clinic. They had allegedly eaten two-minute noodles before school.
While it’s unclear whether the deaths of these five children were caused by food poisoning, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has warned against spreading false information over the possible contamination of noodles.
According to News24, the Department of Health initiated an urgent investigation into possible food poisoning, while there have been claims on social media that the potential contamination “is the result of tampering with the products by foreign nationals, described as illegal immigrants”, the SAHRC explained.
In a statement, the SAHRC said: “The commission notes that suggestions that the tragic deaths of five children… are the result of revenge by foreign nationals are irresponsible and have no basis in fact.
“Until such time as the health authorities confirm the cause of the death… the commission urges communities across the country to remain vigilant against the irresponsible spread of any messages which attempt to link the deaths to any alleged revenge plot.”
In recent news, an online petition to recall instant noodles is in full swing and has garnered over 1 500 signatures so far. The petition was started by Thato Majola on Change.org, and implores the Department of Health to initiate an immediate product recall for the brands involved in these two cases, IOL reports.
“We demand justice for the children who died after allegedly eating noodles,” said Majola.
Meanwhile, the Health Department said that the investigations had been prioritised, and according to EWN, the department’s Murdock Ramathuba said: “The investigation is ongoing. It’s a long process to try to come down to one thing because there are many factors that are involved in cases of food poisoning unless it is laboratory confirmed or other factors that might be involved.”
He said that the noodles were two different brands, EWN adds.