|Apricot kernels pose high risk of cyanide poisoning|
Apricot kernels pose high risk of cyanide poisoning
- Apricot kernel-containing foods and injectable products that have been prohibited found to be illegally circulated online -
It is prohibited to use apricot kemels as food ingredients because excessive intake of apricot kemels can lead to a variety of adverse effects(vomiting, liver damage, coma, death) resulting from cyanide poisoning caused by amygdalin*
However, the investigation conducted by the KCA (President Lee Hee-sook) revealed that apricot kernel-related foods and injectable products were being illegally circulated through online shopping malls on the unconfirmed ground that apricot kernels are effective in the treatment of cancer, prompting consumers to pay special attention.
* Amygdalin is a cyanogenic glycoside found naturally in the seeds of fruits, including the pips of apricots and peaches. It is dissolved into poisonous hydrogen cyanide (HCN) by enzymes, and it has the risk of causing HCN poisoning in case of excessive intake.
□ Apricot kernel-containing foods found to be illegally circulated online
Apricot kernels are prohibited to be used as ingredients in food, but in NAVER Shopping, the search results for the keywords like ‘apricot kernel,’ ‘apricot stone,’ etc. showed that 39 products in 12 product categories were being sold as apricot kernel foods.
* NAVER Shopping shows products sold in major open markets on the search results page, and those products are actually sold by individual business operators
Out of the 39 products, 15 products (38.5%) were easily edible ‘whole seed,’ followed by ‘capsule (5 products or 12.8%)’, ‘tofu (4 products or 10.3%)’ and ‘oil, jelly, canned food, juice, etc.’
And 38 out of the 39 products were being sold in the form of foreign direct purchase in the shopping mall in question, and 12 products (1 product per product category), which were ordered to check whether those 38 products were actually circulated in the market, were all available to be purchased.
In addition, even though taking high-dose of vitamin C with apricot kernel-containing food can accelerate the generation of hydrogen cyanide, increasing health risks, cases were found in a cancer treatment-related online cafe that people take apricot kernels with high-dose of vitamin C.
one apricot kemel-containing injectable product was being sold, and it was frequently found in the cancer treatment-related online cafe that people administered the injectable product in question on their own. The administeration of a medicine by a person who does not have a medical license is the act of violating the Medical Service Act, and therefore, the oversight and supervision by a relevant government authority needs to be strengthened.
□ Administ ering apricot kernel-containing injectable product can cause serious adverse effects.
One apricot kemel-containing injectable product was being sold, and it was frequently found in the cancer treatment-related online cafe that people administered the injectable product in question on their own. The administeration of a medicine by a person who does not have a medical license is the act of violating the Medical Service Act, and therefore, the oversight and supervision by a relevant government authority needs to be strengthened.
In addition, in order to prevent safety incidents resulting form the apricot kernel-containing injectable product, it is needed to concretize relevant regulations so that the injectable product in question cannot be used for the purpose of treating diseases.
※ The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily granted permission to use amygdalin as an alternative therapy for terminal cancer patients, but the permission was cancelled following the 1977 clinical trial which revealed that its effect on cancer treatment was ineffective.
□ It is necessary to prohibit apricot kernel-containing products from being circulated as foods, and drugs for disease treatment, and to strengthen relevant authorities’ oversight and supervision.
Based on the results of the investigation, the KCA ▲recommended the business operators in question to conduct voluntary recall, disposal and sales suspension, and they accepted the recommendations. It also plans to request the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the Korea Customs Service and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to ▲prohibit apricot kernel-containing foods and injectable products from being circulated and cleared through the customs, strengthen their oversight and supervision, and concretize relevant regulations.
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