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Warning on Australian apricot kernels containing high levels of hydrocyanic acid

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 21) advised members of the public not to eat a kind of Australian apricot kernels called Aprisnax Australian Raw Apricot Kernels. The trade should stop selling the product concerned.

     Product details are as follows:

Product name: Aprisnax Australian Raw Apricot Kernels
Net weight: 1 kilogram per pack
Best before: November 2015
Place of origin: Australia

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS, through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a warning issued by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand concerning a recall of the above product initiated by the Newstart Health Supplies, Australia, due to the presence of higher than usual levels of hydrocyanic acid in the product, which has been sold at the company's retail stores in Australia and online."

     Cyanogenic glycosides, which are naturally present in apricot kernels, are relatively non-toxic. However, they can release hydrocyanic acid, which is toxic to humans, as a result of chemical reaction.

     "In humans, the clinical signs of acute cyanide intoxication include rapid respiration, drop in blood pressure, headache, stomach pain and vomiting," the spokesman said.

     The CFS has contacted the Australian authorities for more information. So far, there is no indication of any affected product being imported to Hong Kong. Nevertheless, for the sake of prudence, the CFS will alert the trade of the incident and urge them to stop selling the affected product.

     "Consumers who have recently bought any of the product concerned abroad or online, or if they are unsure of the details of relevant product, should stop eating it. People should also seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after consuming the particular product," the spokesman said.

     The CFS will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate follow-up actions.

Ends/Thursday, August 21, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:52

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Last revision date: 21-08-2014