Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hilarious Journal Articles #80: Niacin Intoxication from Pumpernickel Bagels

From the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:

On April 27, 1983, 14 (20%) of 69 persons attending a brunch had acute onset of rash, pruritis, and sensation of warmth. The illness was of relatively short duration, with an incubation period of approximately 30 minutes after consumption of one or more pumpernickel bagels served at the brunch. Of 25 persons who ate the bagels, 14 (56%) became ill, whereas none of the 44 persons who did not eat pumpernickel bagels became ill. The bagels had been produced at a local bagel factory from a batch of dough originally prepared on April 23.

A review of reports from the hospital emergency room serving the area revealed that an emergency-room visit was made by one person with similar symptoms on April 24 and by two other persons on April 27. All three had eaten pumpernickel bagels made from the same batch of dough.

Because the pumpernickel bagels were very light in color, the ingredients were suspected. Investigation revealed that, in an attempt to enrich the pumpernickel flour, a large quantity of niacin had been added, apparently from an improperly labeled container. Laboratory studies revealed 60 times the normal level of niacin in the pumpernickel flour. On the basis of these data, each bagel contained approximately 190 mg of niacin; the recommended dietary allowance for niacin is 6.6 mg/1000 calories or about 13 mg/day for the average adult. Measures have been taken to assure proper labeling of all ingredient containers in the bagel factory.

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