Officials in South Africa are looking into the deaths of up to five children to see if they are linked to eating instant noodles.

The Department of Health is investigating the possible food poisoning in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces.

The agency met with environmental health practitioners from the three affected provinces and municipalities to get more information, including the product brand name, supplier or manufacturer and stores where food was purchased. Leftovers of food products have been collected from some affected households and sent for laboratory testing.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has launched an investigation involving Grandisync CC, the supplier of Howe Instant Noodles based in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.

This follows allegations that three children who died in the Eastern Cape might have consumed Howe 2 minute noodles but lab results are still pending.

The agency said based on information it has been given by other regulators and the supplier, it has “reasonable suspicion” to believe that Grandisync CC supplied unsafe goods or items that posed a potential risk to the public.

Unsubstantiated claims
Health officials have said there may be a recall of concerned products should the evidence indicate that this is required.

The South African Human Rights Commission condemned messages on social media which claimed possible contamination of the noodles was the result of tampering by foreign nationals.

“The Commission reminds the public that official sources are still investigating the possible contamination. At this stage there is no evidence to suggest any possible tampering or any link with a foreign owned businesses. Should there be cause for concern, the authorities will communicate this.”

A total of five deaths, three children in the Eastern Cape and two in Limpopo, are being linked to the noodles, said the Commission.

Members of the public were encouraged to practice good hygiene when handling food, including checking the labeling for best before or related dates and condition of the foodstuffs and packaging.

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