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Recent food safety warnings from the FDA and CDC

FDA warns of the presence of toxic amygdalin in apricot seeds

May 24, 2024 – The FDA issued a warning regarding Apricot Power products after DCLS analysis revealed high amygdalin levels. This compound can lead to fatal cyanide toxicity if consumed. Symptoms range from mild to moderate, such as difficulty breathing and weakness, to severe symptoms such as seizures and coma.1

Amygdalin is a naturally occurring cyanogenic glycoside found in the seeds of certain edible plants. This compound has attracted medical interest due to its purported anticancer properties. Amygdalin can be toxic if it is broken down enzymatically, leading to the production of hydrogen cyanide. High doses of amygdalin can lead to cyanide toxicity.2

The affected products include:

– Apricot Power – Bitter Apricot Seeds – NGR FY24-015 (California Select) – Net Weight 8oz (227g)

– Apricot Power – Seeds Bitter Apricot Seeds – NGR FY24-016 (Organic Turkish Select) – Net Weight 8oz (227g)

– Apricot Power – Bitter Apricot Seeds – NGR FY24-017 (South African Select) – Net Weight 16oz (454g)

The Apricot Power products.

Image credits: FDA

Consumers are advised to discontinue use and discard these products immediately. If ingested, individuals should seek immediate medical attention even if symptoms are absent.

Despite reports and concerns from the FDA, Apricot Power has declined to recall the products. The FDA is actively investigating and will provide updates as necessary. In the meantime, consumers are urged to remain vigilant for side effects and report any concerns to the FDA.

CDC warns that salmonella outbreaks have affected 109 individuals in 29 states

May 23, 2024 – A recent outbreak of Salmonella infection has affected 109 people in 29 states, with 33 requiring hospitalization. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported so far.3

Children under 5 years old represent a significant proportion of those affected, accounting for 43% of the total number of cases.

To limit the risk of infection, individuals are advised to adhere to strict hygiene practices, including thorough hand washing after handling backyard poultry or their eggs. Close supervision of children around poultry is essential due to their increased susceptibility to serious Salmonella disease.

In addition, close contact with backyard poultry, such as kissing or hugging, should be avoided, as should eating or drinking in the area to prevent the transmission of Salmonella bacteria. Safe egg handling procedures are also recommended to minimize the risk of contamination.

A woman feeding her poultry in the backyard.

Image credits: Unsplash

Most people infected with Salmonella experience diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin 6 hours to 6 days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people recover without treatment after 4 to 7 days. Some people – especially children under five, adults aged 65 and over, and people with weakened immune systems – may develop more serious illnesses that require medical treatment or hospitalization.”4

The outbreak underlines the risk posed by backyard poultry, which can harbor Salmonella bacteria even when it appears healthy. These bacteria can easily spread to surrounding environments and objects, increasing the chance of transmission through contact and ingestion.

References
  1. FDA warns about toxic amygdalin found in apricot seeds. Published May 24, 2024. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advisories-safety-information/fda-issues-warning-about-toxic-amygdalin-found-apricot-seeds
  2. Jaszczak-Wilke E, Polkowska Ż, Koprowski M, et. al. Amygdalin: toxicity, anticancer activity and analytical procedures for its determination in plant seeds. Molecules. 2021 Apr 13;26(8):2253. doi: 10.3390/molecules26082253. PMID: 33924691; PMCID: PMC8069783.
  3. CDC Newsroom. CDC warns of Salmonella outbreaks linked to backyard poultry flocks. Published May 23, 2024. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2024/s0523-salmonella-poultry-flocks.html
  4. Abene, S. The impact of whole genome sequencing in detecting foodborne diseases. Infection. Published February 6, 2024. Accessed June 1, 2024. https://www.contagionlive.com/view/the-impact-of-whole-genome-sequencing-in-detecting-foodborne-illnesses
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