High levels of cyanide discovered in apricot kernels on sale in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 15:16 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:00 09 June 2018

High levels of cyanide were discovered in apricot kernels. Photo: Norfolk Trading Standards

High levels of cyanide were discovered in apricot kernels. Photo: Norfolk Trading Standards

Norfolk Trading Standards

Trading Standards officers in Norfolk have discovered a Norwich retailer was selling apricot kernels containing high levels of cyanide.

The authority tweeted to say the product had been discovered and led to a national recall.

They said they investigated after concerns were raised over bitter apricot kernals which a Norwich retailer was selling, having bought them from an importer based outside the county.

A spokesman said analysis has shown the problem and all stocks of the product were subsequently removed from sale, with the importer issued with a written warning.

He said: “We would invite members of the public to notify us if they come across this product being on sale so that we can check that the importers have carried out the required testing.

“This is just one example of how Norfolk County Council Trading Standards target our food work to protect consumers across Norfolk.”

In 2016 the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the government’s food safety arm, warned consumers about apricot kernels, which became a health fad.

But according to the FSA the snack produced high levels of cyanide - a deadly poison - and eating just 30 stones was enough to kill.

The FSA said people eating between 10 and 15 stones had reported side effects such as their fingers going numb.

A statement from the FSA said: “We advise that bitter apricot kernels including the powdered forms should not be eaten.

“This is because a naturally occurring substance in the kernels changes – after people eat the products – to cyanide.

“We also advise that sweet apricot kernels, bitter almond kernels and other powdered forms are not eaten as the same toxic chemical can be present in these also.”

Anyone who sees the apricot kernals on sale should call the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or fill in a form at

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