Lancashire, U.K. resident Matthew Creme had a brush with death as he ate Suntrail Farm cherries on July 17, according to The Independent.
While he ate the cherries, he cracked a seed, looked inside and found something that had an “almond texture,” BBC News reported. It tasted like one, too.
Coverage of cherries on Globalnews.ca:
Thinking it was another seed, he ate two more.
“It was so delicious,” Creme told the Times.
Then about 10 minutes rolled by, and Creme started feeling “drowsy and hot.”
“I had a headache and felt really lethargic,” the Times quoted him saying.
What Creme didn’t know is that these were cherry stones, which contain a chemical compound known as amygdalin.
It’s a compound that turns into hydrogen cyanide when consumed, The Independent reported.
Creme called an emergency number and an operator said that eating that many stones could potentially kill him, according to BBC News.
He was treated for poisoning at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and it was the first time that doctors there had treated a cyanide poisoning due to fruit pits.
Creme, who has recovered, didn’t see any warning about seeds on the package, and now he’s calling for better labelling.
“If something was that severe you’d think it’d be on the packaging,” he said.
“All parts of the cherry tree are toxic except the fruit,” according to the B.C. Drug and Poison Information Centre (BC DPIC).
Poisoning isn’t normally anticipated when a pit is swallowed whole.
However, “the pits should not be broken open and swallowed,” it said.