Grilled cheese is killing seniors in Quebec

Quebec’s health department is reconsidering whether to serve grilled cheese sandwiches at its senior residences after choking deaths in recent years.

Health officials confirmed to CTV News they are looking into the issue after a coroner recommended the provincial government review the risks of the sandwich. Coroner Andre-H. Dandavino concluded that grilled cheese poses a particular choking risk in the wake of deaths of elderly residents in 2012 and 2015.

“The grilled cheese sandwich seems to be problematic and risky for the elderly,” Dandavino wrote in his report.

Clemence Thibodeau died in 2015 after getting a piece of a grilled cheese sandwich stuck in her throat. Monique Leboeuf died in 2012 in a similar incident.

Martine Lesage, a spokeswoman for the regional health authority, told CTV News it has since stopped serving grilled cheese to residents who are on a soft food diet.

She could not provide exact numbers as to how many seniors have died choking on grilled cheese, but said the last death was in 2016.

Quebec’s health department said it was accepting the coroner’s recommendations concerning grilled cheese and is completing a review of the risks of choking on food in its senior homes.

Grilled cheese wasn’t the only food being considered in the review.

“Although Coroner Dandavino’s report targets the risk associated with the grilled cheese sandwich that is involved in this particular death, the (Health Department) is focusing its thinking more on the measures to be put in place to reduce the risk of choking in general,” a health official said in an email to CTV News.