An Italian grandmother has been charged with neglect after accidentally poisoning her family by making hot chocolate from sachets that were 25 years out of date.
The 77-year-old woman, from the northeastern town of Vicenza, sent three children and two adults – including herself – to the emergency room, after whipping up a batch of cocoa that expired in 1990.
Believed to have been purchased in the late 1980s, while Ronald Reagan was President of the United States and Nelson Mandela was still imprisoned in South Africa, the sachets of cocoa sat unopened for over a quarter of a century, until one of her grandchildren asked for hot chocolate during a visit.
Discovering the packets at the back of a kitchen cupboard, the woman mixed them with warm milk and served the beverage to her two grandchildren, a visiting friend, and her husband, before drinking a cup herself.
Hours later, Il Giornale Di Vicenza reports that the entire family had to be taken to hospital suffering from stomach upsets and vomiting.
One of the youngsters, who ranged between ages 8 and 12, was kept in the ward for more than 20 days.
Although the incident appears to have been accidental, police have charged the elderly woman with causing injury through neglect, according to Corriere Del Veneto.
Hot chocolate sachets usually contain powdered cocoa and sugar, which do not usually go off but decrease in quality over time, and powdered milk, which can curdle after long periods, especially when exposed to heat or moisture.