Rare berries that poisoned children found to contain natural cyanide

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The skin of a rare berry that killed two children and hospitalized 18 others in central Vietnam last month contains cyanide, a provincial Food Safety and Hygiene Agency has concluded.

Investigators from the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak identified the fruits as Passiflora Octandra Gagnep, which carries between 450-500 milligrams of cyanide per kilogram of skin.

On July 28, a group of children in M'Drak District's Hamlet 7 found a strange vine while herding buffalo in their field. They then brought the grape-like berries back to their home village and shared them with other children.

The children soon developed symptoms of food poisoning, and two of them one six-year-old and one 12-year-old -- died. Eighteen others were hospitalized with vomiting, dizziness, fever, stomachaches and other symptoms.

Locals said they have seen the fruit before but no one had ever identified it or tried to eat it.

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