Food Safety Recall: Health Leads UK’s Bitter Apricot Kernels

Food Safety Recall: Health Leads UK’s Bitter Apricot Kernels

Food Safety Recall:
Health Leads UK's Bitter Apricot Kernels


Bitter Apricot Kernels

Bitter Apricot Kernels

Health Leads UK Ltd are recalling their Bitter Apricot Kernels as they contain too high levels of Hydrocyanic Acid (Cyanide).

The regulations regarding Hydrocyanic Acid (Cyanide) changed last year, without the company being aware of it.

Apricot Kernels

Apricot kernels, or apricot seeds, also known as apricot stones, contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring chemical compound find in the seeds of apricots, almonds, apples, peaches and plums, among other plants.

It's the amygdalin that the body turns into the toxic cyanide.

Hydrocyanic Acid

Hydrocyanic Acid, also called Hydrogen Cyanide or Prussic Acid (HCN) is a colourless, very poisonous and flammable liquid that is produced and used on an industrial scale and is a precursor to many chemical compounds ranging from polymers to pharmaceuticals.

However, because it is poisonous, there are maximum levels that are 'safe' to consume. 

Cyanide Poisoning

According to Wikipedia, "Early symptoms [of cyanide poisoning] include headache, dizziness, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, and vomiting. This may then be followed by seizures, slow heart rate, low blood pressure, loss of consciousness, and cardiac arrest. Onset of symptoms is usually within a few minutes. If a person survives, there may be long-term neurological problems."

European Regulations regarding Hydrocyanic Acid (Cyanide)

European Regulations regarding foods containing hydrocyanic acid is as follows (bold highlights are our own):

(3) "Amygdalin is the major cyanogenic glycoside present in unprocessed apricot kernels and is degraded to hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) by chewing. Hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) is highly toxic to humans. An acute reference dose (ARfD) of 20 μg/kg bw was derived by the Contam Panel for assessing the risks associated with the presence of cyanogenic glycosides in unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped apricot kernels. Taking into account the reported levels of cyanogenic glycosides in unprocessed apricot kernels, the ARfD would be exceeded already by consumption of only a very few unprocessed apricot kernels.

(4) It is therefore appropriate to establish a maximum level for hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) in unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped apricot kernels placed on the market for the final consumer.

(5) Given the very fragmented market of unprocessed apricot kernels and the possible acute health risks for public health, it should be provided that the operator guarantees that all unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped apricot kernels placed on the market for the final consumer comply with the maximum level."

The Actual Products Recalled

Product

Pack Size

Best Before

Batch Codes

Hazard

Apricot Kernels 150gm

150g

01/2019

00818. 00918, 12018

Hydrocyanic Acid (Cyanide)

Apricot Kernels 500gm

500g

02/2019

04418, 011418

Hydrocyanic Acid (Cyanide)

To read the Food Standards Agency's recall notice, click here. To see Health Leads UK Ltd's recall notice on the Food Standards Agency's website, click here. We could not find any information regarding the recall on Health Leads UK Ltd's own website - but there was also no sign of the bitter apricot kernels, showing they have (at least temporarily) taken it off the market.