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More apricot kernels recalled for risk of cyanide poisoning

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For the third time this month apricot kernels, also known as pits or seeds, are being recalled because of elevated levels of cyanide that could lead to food poisoning.

The two previous recalls, initiated in Canada, were posted on March 11 and March 17. Those recalls and the one posted today all involve imported apricot kernels, according to recall notices posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The problem was discovered during CFIA testing.

The new recall involves Double Happiness brand apricot seed mix.

“This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s food safety investigation,” according to the recall today.

“Tun Hau Enterprises Ltd. (in Canada) is recalling Double Happiness brand Dried Apricot Seed Mix from the marketplace due to natural toxin amygdalin. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below it contains excessive amygdalin which may cause acute cyanide poisoning.”

Distribution details are incomplete. It is known that the recalled apricot product was distributed in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba. However, Canadian officials report that the recalled product may have been distributed nationwide. 

Apricot kernels naturally contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten. The human body can eliminate small amounts of cyanide, but larger amounts 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 notice, no confirmed illnesses had been reported.

Consumers can use the following label information to determine whether they have the recalled product on hand:

  • Double Happiness brand
  • Dried apricot seed mix
  • 200-gram plastic packages
  • UPC number 6 26430 00016 0
  • Best-before date “03/12/2020” 

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