Family down with food poisoning after eating 'black' rice

SUNGAI PETANI - Ten members of a family are suffering stomach upset and they believe that contaminated parboiled rice they ate is the cause.

Businesswoman R. Velangkani, 42, from Taman Kempas said her 45-year-old husband, her 32-year-old sister and her seven children, aged five to 18, started to experience diarrhoea and vomiting since early this month.

"Our conditions got worse two weeks later and we went to the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital for treatment," she said yesterday.

"My sister, four of my children and I were admitted for a night on April 17," Velangkani said.

"The doctor said we had food poisoning but was unsure of the cause," she added.

Velangkani said her husband and the three other children sought treatment at a private clinic first.

Parboiled rice, known as pullungul arisi in Tamil, is rice that has been partially boiled with the husk intact. It is widely consumed by the Indian community.

Velangkani said her family had been consuming the rice for over a decade and never experienced any problem.

"My daughter cooked the parboiled rice for the family that day.

"When we checked the 10kg packet, bought from a supermarket last month, it had black, unknown substances in it," she said.

She believed it was the rice that caused the family food poisoning, adding that the rice was still within its expiry date.

Kedah Health Department director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail said he would instruct his officers to check on the cause.

"I would advise consumers to always check the expiry date of the food they purchase," he added.