The retail sale of raw apricot kernels is prohibited as from today, when changes to the Food Standards Code come into effect.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said FSANZ has found that raw apricot kernels (both with and without skin) pose an acute public health and safety risk.
“Raw apricot kernels contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are broken down to release cyanide when eaten,” McCutcheon said.
“There have been a number of cases of cyanide poisoning related to consumption of apricot kernels, with some consumers eating them believing they can help cure or prevent cancer, although there is no credible evidence that is the case.”
The prohibition does not apply to apricot kernel-derived ingredients, which can be shown to be safe to use as ingredients in other foods.
In September 2015, the FSANZ Board approved a proposal to prohibit the sale of raw apricot kernels. In November 2015, Ministers responsible for food regulation agreed to adopt the changes, which will be gazetted today.