Poisoned Yogurt: School Rivalry In China Turns Deadly; What Are The Effects Of Rat Poisoning?

By Philip Ross on May 3, 2013 12:01 PM EDT

poisoned yogurt
In China, a school rivalry turned deadly when two students ingested yogurt purposefully laced with rat poisoning. (Photo: Flickr/Katie Tegtmeyer)

Poisoned yogurt is responsible for the death of two kindergarten students in northern China. The yogurt, laced with rat poison, caused the girls to foam at the mouth and go into convulsions.

Profits Over People

It was a school rivalry that turned deadly. BBC reports that the poisoned yogurt was part of a clash between two competing kindergartens in Hebei province, an area located southwest of China's capital city of Beijing. According to reports from Chinese media, the owner of one of the kindergartens confessed to putting rat poison in two yogurts and leaving them for children of the rival kindergarten to find and consume. The two schools, motivated by profit, are apparently competing to attract students.

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This isn't the first incident reported of profit being placed above people's health in China. According to The Guardian, almost 300,000 babies got sick from poisoned baby milk powder back in 2008, resulting in the death of six kids.

"The industrial chemical melamine had been added to the powder to make its protein content appear higher," BBC reports.

Sanlu, the firm at the center of the baby powder scandal, knew the milk was poisoned months before local officials were informed. From The Guardian:

The scandal prompted authorities to announce a complete overhaul of the country's dairy industry to improve safety. Dozens of countries imposed bans and extra checks on Chinese food products, with tests on products ranging from chocolate bars to yoghurt finding traces of the substance. Low levels of the chemical are not thought harmful.

Ill Effects Of Rat Poisoning

Rodenticides, the category of pest control chemicals that kill rodents, debuted in the 1970s around the same time the U.S. government banned the use of DDT. They work by causing internal bleeding in the rodent that eats because they contain a blood thinner similar to that used by heart attack and stroke victims.

According to a study published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, titled "Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings," rodenticide poisoning is extremely dangerous.

"As agents specifically designed to kill mammals, often their toxicity is very similar for the target rodents and for humans," according to the study.

The EPA reports that symptoms of rat poisoning in humans include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, convulsions and stomatitis, a condition which causes inflammation of the mouth, including the gums, cheeks, tongue and lips. Ileus, a blockage of the small or large intestine, can also occur. Some people even experience nervous system and brain damage.

Death can occur due to respiratory paralysis or cardiovascular collapse.

Read more from iScience Times:

Sleeping Pills In Sippy Cups: California Teacher Debbie Gratz Admits To Drugging Kids; Why Did She Do It?

Poisoned Bread: Rolls Send 25 German Workers To Hospital; Why?

Visine Poisoning: Shayne Carpenter Arrested; What Are Visine Poisoning Symptoms?

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