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Food agency urges Canadians to not eat apricot kernel brand over cyanide poisoning risks

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is urging Canadians to avoid eating a select brand of apricot kernels, citing possible cyanide poisoning.

The CFIA asked Canadians not to consume ‘bitter’ or ‘extremely bitter’ apricot kernels made by the brand Our Father’s Farm in a release on Wednesday, saying they contained “excessive amygdalin which may cause acute cyanide poisoning.”

The products have a best before date of Jan. 31, 2022, and may have been sold in stores nationally and online.

Read more: Apricot Power brand apricot seeds recalled due to risk of cyanide poisoning

“Check to see if you have the affected products in your home. If the affected products are in your home, do not consume them,” the CFIA said.

Apricot kernels are the seeds found inside the pits or stones of apricots.

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They naturally contain a toxin called amygdalin, which can release cyanide after being eaten. Traces can be found in several foods such as sweet potatoes and some beans.

Health Canada says a maximum level of 20 parts per million of extractable cyanide in apricot kernels sold as food.

According to the CFIA, the human body can field small amounts of cyanide, but larger amounts could poison or kill a person.

Read more: Health Canada: Apricot kernels look like almonds, but can cause cyanide poisoning

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.

The CFIA said anyone who believes they may have gotten sick from eating them should call their doctor, adding there have been no reported illnesses associated with the Our Father’s Farm apricot kernels.

“This warning was triggered by CFIA test results,” the CFIA said.

“The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of these or other products. If products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through a Food Recall Warning.”

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