Tainted vinegar kills 11 in China

Aug. 23, 2011 at 1:44 AM

BEIJING, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Tainted vinegar was blamed in the deaths of at least 11 people, and another 120 were sickened, in China's northwest Xinjiang-Uighur region, authorities said.

The incident occurred Friday at a large meal served during Muslims' month-long observance of Ramadan in Sangzhu village, China Daily reported Tuesday, quoting local police.

The dead included a 6-year-old, the report said. Of those sickened, one remained in critical condition, while the rest were reported to be out of danger after being treated at a hospital.

The report said a preliminary investigation showed the victims began to feel sick a day after consuming vinegar from two plastic barrels that previously had contained antifreeze -- which contains ethylene glycol, a chemical that can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

The region, with a population of 21 million, is home to various ethnic groups but is largely Muslim.

China's Health Ministry said at least 45 people died of food poisoning across the country in the first six months of 2011.

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