Natural cyanide found in apricot kernels forces recall

One person has been hospitalized in Queensland, Australia, leading to a recall of ChiTree apricot kernels after samples were found to contain high levels of a naturally occurring cyanide.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned that ingesting the product could pose a serious health risk.

“Anyone who has purchased ChiTree apricot kernels are advised not to eat them as it is unsafe,” Dr Young said.

ChiTree apricot kernels are distributed by a Victorian-based company, which has begun a voluntary recall of the product.

All retail sales have been suspended, including those online.

According to the company, raw, bitter apricot kernels contain a substance called, amygdalin, believed by some to be of therapeutic value. A constituent of amygdalin is hydrocyanic acid, which is naturally occurring and found in the seeds of common fruit and berries. Cooking the kernels destroys the amygdalin content.