2nd December 2019 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a case of suspected food poisoning today, and hence reminded the public to beware of vegetables containing calcium oxalate raphide.
The case involved two female patients, aged 67 and 38, who developed a burning sensation of mouth, abdominal pain and diarrhoea shortly after consuming Chinese flat cabbage known as Tatsoi at home on November 27 evening. The patients did not seek medical attention and are now in a stable condition.
Initial investigations revealed that the Chinese flat cabbage the patients had consumed was purchased at a shop in Tuen Mun on the same day. The CHP’s investigation is ongoing.
Plants containing calcium oxalate raphide (a needle-shaped crystal of the chemical) can injure the skin and mucous membranes and cause irritation, such as numbness and burning sensation of the tongue, mouth and lips, and swelling of the tongue and lips. Consumption of vegetables accidentally mixed with calcium oxalate raphide-containing plants may also cause food poisoning.
Members of the public should:
- Not pick and consume wild plants;
- Purchase vegetables from reliable suppliers; and
- Remove any plants mixed with edible vegetables and wash them thoroughly before cooking and consumption.