Friday, 16 June 2017

Naturally Occurring Toxicants: Presence in Selected Commonly Consumed Fruits

Chapter · December 2016
DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800605-4.00013-X
In book: Regulating Safety of Traditional and Ethnic Foods, pp.247-282
Many commonly eaten foods contain toxins as a naturally occurring constituent, which could be potentially harmful to our health. Occasionally, there have been reports of food poisoning cases suspected to have been caused by consumption of vegetables and fruits containing natural toxins. Natural toxins are poisonous substances present naturally in fruits and vegetables. This chapter takes a detailed look at the following: (1) the mamey apple (Mamea americana), a dietary constituent of the Caribbean people for many generations, known for producing discomfort in some persons, especially in the digestive system; (2) tonka beans (Dipteryx odorata), which contain high concentrations of coumarin (coumarin is banned in the United States and has negative effects on the liver); (3) ackee (Blinghia sapida); the unripe fruit contains natural toxins called hypoglycin, which can cause serious health effects; and (4) cassava (Manihot esculenta.), which in its raw or unprocessed form contains cyanogenic glycoside toxins. Food poisoning from consumption of fruits and vegetables containing natural toxins is dependent on a variety of factors, such as individual susceptibility, the cooking methods, and the levels of toxin in the plant, which may vary according to the species and geographic environment. The mamey apple, tonka beans, ackee, and cassava are not commonly consumed in the developed world, so further research is needed on the regulatory aspects, especially as more and more of these fruits appear in global markets