Five cases of methaemoglobinaemia after ingestion of sodium nitrite occurred in two clusters in Sydney in 2006. All cases were unintentional poisonings following use in cooking of an imported compound sold as a food additive. In all cases, methaemoglobinaemia was recognised early and treated promptly, with all patients making a full recovery. These cases highlight the importance of accurate food labelling and surveillance of imported goods.
In 2006, at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, two separate clusters of patients presented to the emergency department with cyanosis after consuming home-prepared food to which sodium nitrite had been added.
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