I meal prep and eat leftovers all the time, so this story of a young man quickly dying from spaghetti has shaken me to the core.

Until a few years back, I didn't realize just how short the shelf life was on prepared meals. There were times in college when we would make a big pot of goulash or spaghetti and eat the leftovers for the whole week. Hell, back then I would eat pizza that had been left out all night the next day for breakfast. So imagine my surprise when I learned that you're supposed to throw out some leftovers within 1-2 days.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only who didn't realize just how dangerous previously prepared food can be. According to a case study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a 20-year-old man ate some spaghetti that was made five days earlier. He left his home after eating, but returned within 30 minutes because he had a headache, abdominal pain, and nausea.

He vomited for the next few hours, and had a few bouts of diarrhea as well. He had only consumed water after getting sick, and laid down hoping to sleep off what most would assume was just intense food poisoning. He never woke up. His parents found him dead the next morning.

The autopsy revealed that he had died just 10 hours after eating the spaghetti and that he had liver necrosis and acute pancreatitis, but they were unable to pinpoint the exact cause of death until his fecal swabs and samples of the leftovers were found to contain bacillus cereus. They were able to determine that the pasta definitely did him in.

According to IFL Science, bacillus cereus is a bacteria often associated with "Fried Rice Syndrome." I didn't know that was a thing either, but apparently, people getting sick from eating fried rice that has been left out at room temp for too long happens so often it has a syndrome named after it.

That's it -- I'm never eating leftovers again. If you want to continue rolling the dice, you may want to check out this chart from FoodSafety.gov. Some of are pretty surprising. Like, how am I supposed to eat ALL the Thanksgiving leftovers in 1-2 days? It's not fair.

food safety

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