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Food Safety Focus (210th Issue, January 2024) – Article 4

Beware of Grayanotoxin Poisoning

Recently, a suspected case of grayanotoxin poisoning involving a person consuming honey mailed from Nepal by a friend was reported locally. Grayanotoxins are neurotoxins which can affect nerves and muscles. The toxins exist in the flowers, leaves and twigs of plants of the Ericaceae family. Grayanotoxin-containing honey may cause a burning sensation in the throat and a bitter taste. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness and weakness which commonly occur around 30 minutes after consuming honey contaminated by grayanotoxin. In severe cases, hypotension, bradycardia or shock may occur.

To avoid grayanotoxins poisoning, the public is reminded to purchase honey from a reliable source. Honey with a bitter or astringent taste should be discarded. It is also advised to pay special attention to honey imported or purchased from regions in which honey related grayanotoxin poisoning cases have been previously reported like Black Sea area of Türkiye and Nepal.