Man, 20, found dead in his bed by devastated parents after he reheated common pasta dish

A man died after eating a bowl of reheated pasta in tomato sauce.

The 20-year-old, known as AJ, was found in bed a few hours later by his distraught parents.

A 20-year-old student died after eating a reheated pasta dish (stock image)


A 20-year-old student died after eating a reheated pasta dish (stock image)Photo credit: Getty

The student had prepared the spaghetti dish five days earlier and left it in the kitchen at room temperature.

After a day of school, he would heat up the food in the microwave and devour it before heading out to exercise.

But after suffering headaches, stomach pains and nausea, he returned home just 30 minutes later.

According to a case report published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, the boy then vomited “profusely” and suffered two episodes of “watery diarrhea.”

AJ from Brussels, Belgium fell asleep around midnight.

When his “worried” parents checked on him at 11 a.m. the next day, he was dead.

The inquest heard he died around 4am – about 10 hours after eating the pasta in tomato sauce.

An autopsy later revealed that he had suspected food poisoning from the bacterium Bacillus cereus.

He had moderate centrilobular liver necrosis, which likely caused his organs to fail.

The report’s authors said: “The spaghetti was kept at room temperature for several days.”

“This allowed Bacillus cereus to grow to very high concentrations and produce the high concentration of toxin (14.8 μg/g) found in the noodles and likely responsible for the fatal outcome.”

AJ’s death in 2008 was first reported in 2011.

But his story resurfaced this week after several TikTok videos and Reddit posts warned about the dangers of “Fried Rice Syndrome.”

The term refers to a type of food poisoning caused by eating reheated food that has not been stored properly.

Uncooked foods like rice contain Bacillus cereus spores that can survive cooking.

If rice is left at room temperature, the spores can grow into bacteria that can multiply and produce toxins that cause vomiting or diarrhea.

The longer cooked rice is kept at room temperature, the more likely bacteria or toxins are to make the rice unsafe for consumption.

In rare cases, like AJ’s, this can be fatal.


Social media users were horrified that something so simple could potentially kill them.

One person said on Reddit: “I regularly eat pizza a day or two later after it’s left on its side. I had no idea.”

While another wrote: “Three days is my rule for leftovers. I’ll reconsider.”

But others on TikTok assumed that it was common knowledge not to despise leftover food from the fridge.

In a video by @jpall20, posted as a warning to “all the students and food preparers out there,” one woman said, “I don’t know why this isn’t common sense.”

Another user commented: “Don’t people know they need to refrigerate food?”

The NHS advises serving the rice immediately after cooking.

Elon Musk's father criticizes book that portrays him as a
Taylor Swift takes home four VMAs and dispels rumors of an Olivia Rodrigo feud

If this is not possible, it should be cooled as quickly as possible – ideally within an hour – and stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of a day before reheating.

When reheating, it should be steaming hot throughout and never reheated more than once, the health department adds.

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button