Concerns about cyanide poisoning prompt recall of apricot kernels

Concerns about cyanide poisoning prompt recall of apricot kernels

by Sue Jones
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Sungiven Foods Canada Inc. is recalling One Tang brand bitter apricot kernels from the marketplace because of the natural toxin amygdalin, which can cause cyanide poisoning.

The recalled product has been sold in British Columbia. The problem was found when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested the product.

There is concern that consumers may have the product in their homes because of its long shelf life. Consumers can use the following information to help them determine whether they have the recalled kernels on hand.

BrandProductSizeUPCCodes
One TangBitter Apricot Kernel180 g6 28546 00724 82023.JN.20

Apricot kernels naturally contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten. The human body can eliminate small amounts of cyanide, but larger amounts — such as those when the kernels are eaten as snacks —  can result in cyanide poisoning, which could lead to death.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include weakness and confusion, anxiety, restlessness, headache, nausea, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, seizures and cardiac arrest.

As of the posting of the recall Friday there had been no reported illnesses associated with the this product.

The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated food recall warnings.

The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing the recalled product from the marketplace.

Canada has set a maximum limit for amygdalin and products exceeding the limit are on the List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Foods This rule applies to both bitter and sweet apricot kernels sold for human consumption. Apricot kernels used as an ingredient in other foods must also not exceed the maximum limit. Apricot kernels that do not meet Health Canada’s maximum limit rule will not be allowed to be sold in Canada.

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