This Traditional New Year’s Delicacy Killed Nine People in Japan

TIME

Mochi, a traditional New Year’s food in Japan, has made headlines again this year after it apparently led nine people to die from choking.

A chewy cake made from pounded rice, mochi is eaten year-round in Japan, though is traditionally food for New Year, devoured in large quantities in a vegetable broth, or roasted and coated with sugar and soy flour.

The glutinous texture of mochi means it can become lodged in people’s throats and lead to suffocation. This New Year, local media reported nine people died from accidental choking, up from two deaths the previous year; 13 others remain in a serious condition.

Each year before the New Year’s festivities, Japan’s fire and police departments advise people, particularly children and the elderly, to divide the rice cakes into very small chunks before eating them and to do so in the presence of others.

According toThe Guardian, one…

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