Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Pesticide Food Poisoning Suspected as 10 Die After Funeral in Peru

Health + Wellness
Pesticide Food Poisoning Suspected as 10 Die After Funeral in Peru
Panoramic view of the city of Ayacucho. Getty Images

Tragedy struck a funeral in Peru when 10 guests died after eating food that the health minister suspected had come into contact with insecticides, BBC News reported Wednesday.

Fifty-two guests were sickened at the funeral, which took place Monday in the southern Andean region of Ayacucho, CNN reported.


"People were poisoned by the food," Health Minister Silvia Pessah told TV Perú Tuesday, according to Peru Reports. "It could be that an insecticide was in contact with the food."

The food appeared to have been specifically contaminated with a chemical family, commonly used in pesticides, called organophosphates, Pessah told local broadcaster RPP, according to Reuters.

Twenty-one of those sickened are seriously ill, local hospitals told BBC News.

The two oldest sons of the man being mourned were among the dead, as were the father and 12-year-old nephew of the mayor of the town where the funeral took place, San José de Ushua.

"The whole village has been poisoned. I can't grasp it yet—I have lost my family. It's a huge tragedy, thank God I'm alive," Mayor Iván Villagomez Llamoca told BBC News.

The victims ranged in age from 12 to 78, and several of the sickest guests were airlifted to a hospital in the capital of Lima, CNN reported.

"My condolences and solidarity with the families of the deceased in Ayacucho, who died from suspected food poisoning," Pessah said in a tweet reported by CNN.

The source of the poisonings is suspected to be a meat stew served at the funeral, according to BBC News.

Initial tests by the health department turned up insecticides in the food, but public prosecutors have taken samples of the food and drink served for additional testing, CNN and Reuters reported.

A UN report published last year found that 200,000 people around the world die from pesticide poisoning every year, Al Jazeera reported.

This number includes more long-term effects like cancer and birth defects.

"In some countries, pesticide poisoning even exceeds fatalities from infectious diseases," the report said.

In the Andes, there is a longstanding problem of food poisoning caused by the fact that many store food next to farming supplies, the Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times reported Tuesday.

In one incident, 26 children died in the village of Tauccamarca in Cusco, Peru in 1999 after eating food that had been stored next to the dangerous insecticide parathion.

More recently, Pessah said there had been two cases of organophosphate poisoning in the same region as the funeral within the past few months, Reuters reported.

But the problem isn't limited to the Andes. In 2013, 23 children died in India after eating food contaminated with a pesticide in the organophosphate family, according to Reuters.

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus? Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Could mouthwash help stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This turtle dove is part of Operation Turtle Dove; the European Commission estimates there may be fewer than 5,000 pairs left in the UK. Ian / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Naomi Larsson

For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
Swimming alongside an animatronic dolphin, a person learns about hydrodynamics. Edge Innovations

Life-sized, ultra-realistic robotic dolphins could help end animal captivity by replacing living creatures in aquariums and theme parks.

Read More Show Less
A Stop the Money Pipeline protester holds a banner outside JP Morgan headquarters in NYC on Feb. 25, 2020; JP Morgan is a top contributor to the fossil fuel industry. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch