Department of Health

Health Warning on Apricot Kernel Product (Archived content)

Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Victorians have been warned against consuming ChiTree apricot kernels after a sample distributed by a Victorian-based company was found with high levels of a naturally-occurring cyanide.

Recent interstate testing of the product found it contained high levels of hydrocyanic acid.

Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Rosemary Lester said the company which distributes the product has begun a voluntary recall of ChiTree apricot kernels sold in one, two and three kilogram bags.

The company, which is based at Harcourt in central Victoria, is conducting a voluntary recall and has suspended all retail sales - including those online.

Victorians who have recently purchased this product are advised not to eat it and return it for a refund.

Dr Lester said historically there have been health risks associated with naturally occurring hydrocycanic acids in foods, including apricot kernels.

“Our primary concern is the sale of the product to the public as it is unsafe to eat the whole raw kernel.

“At the level of hydrocyanic acid detected in this product only a small number of apricot kernels would need to be consumed to reach potentially unsafe levels according to published toxicity data.

The literature contains numerous references over a long period of time to acute poisonings as a consequence of consumption of apricot kernels.

Reviewed 28 October 2011


Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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