Health Canada sets new cyanide limit to mitigate risks associated with eating apricot kernels

Starting date:
January 24, 2020
Type of communication:
Information Update
Subcategory:
Non-permitted Food Ingredients
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Issue:
Food Safety
Audience:
General Public
Identification number:
RA-72195

Last updated:

Summary

  • Product: Apricot kernels
  • Issue: Health Canada has established a maximum level (ML) of 20 parts per million for total extractable cyanide in apricot kernels sold in Canada as food. As of January 25, 2020, apricot kernels that exceed the ML will not be allowed for sale in Canada.
  • What to do: Should Canadians have any questions about whether certain food products meet the ML, they should contact manufacturers or sellers directly. For Canadians who bought apricot kernels before January 25, 2020, adults should eat no more than three per day, ground and mixed with other foods, and children should not eat any. Canadians who experience symptoms associated with cyanide poisoning should seek medical attention immediately.

OTTAWA – As announced last July, Health Canada has established a maximum level (ML) of 20 parts per million for total extractable cyanide in apricot kernels sold in Canada as food. The new ML comes into effect on January 25, 2020.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have notified industry that apricot kernels that do not meet the ML cannot be sold in stores or used in other foods once the ML comes into effect.

Retail stores should remove and dispose of any non-compliant products by January 25, 2020. Should Canadians have any questions about whether certain food products meet the ML, they should contact manufacturers or sellers directly.

For Canadians who bought apricot kernels before January 25, 2020, adults should eat no more than three per day, ground and mixed with other foods, and children should not eat any.

Canadians who experience symptoms associated with cyanide poisoning should seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms include weakness and confusion, anxiety, restlessness, headache, nausea, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

Canadians are encouraged to report any food safety or labelling concerns to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709