Nightshade berries poison frozen vegies

NZ’s national food authority is planning to look into complaints that bags of Talley’s frozen vegetables have been found with poisonous black nightshade berries.

According to one consumer, a bag of frozen peas he bought was made up of nearly 50% of the toxic berries.

The complaint is one of several reported contamination cases.

The man, who bought the peas about six months ago, said Talley’s had sent him a $5 cheque, to replace the peas, and a letter saying the berries were not toxic.

New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) director of compliance and investigation, Geoff Allen, said that almost 50% contamination was unacceptable.

“If the contamination is at that level Talley’s need to up their game significantly,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“We need to be talking to Talley’s and actually checking what their quality systems are and what ways that they are looking at to improve their performance.”

Black nightshade berries are widespread across NZ.

Before ripening, they look very much like peas.

National Poisons Centre spokesman, Leo Schep, said the black nightshade berries did not kill but were dangerous in large quantities and could cause fever, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Talley’s said last week the company was starting an immediate review of its processes.

— NZFoodDaily

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