Don’t eat apple, blackcurrant from Australia -NAFDAC warns

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has warned Nigerians against consuming Pure Tassie organic apple and black currant imported from Australia, noting that it contains patulin, a dangerous toxin.

The agency noted that the products are certified harmful for human consumption.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC disclosed this on Tuesday, noting that the “Centre for Food Safety of Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, warned against the consumption of Pure Tassie Organic Apple and Black-currant Juice originating from Australia.

“This was due to an unacceptable level of patulin (a mycotoxin) which had exceeded the maximum limit in fruit juice,” she said.

Adeyeye said the level of patulin content in the affected fruit juice can induce liver, spleen and kidney damage, adding that the toxic level can affect the immune system and cause nausea, gastrointestinal disturbance and vomiting.

She urged healthcare professionals and consumers to report adverse or side effects related to the consumption of the product to the nearest NAFDAC office. 

Adeyeye also implored importers, distributors, retailers and consumers to immediately stop the importation, distribution, sale and consumption of the affected fruit juice.

 “Also, we call on members of the public who are in possession of the affected fruit juice to submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office,” she said.

According to a study titled: “Patulin in Apples and Apple-Based Food Products: The Burdens and the Mitigation Strategies,” published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, patulin, initially identified as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent, was reclassified as a mycotoxin in the 1960s because of its acute toxicity in human beings.

It noted that the commonly found mould, Penicillium expansum, invades wounded apples, causing the blue mould decay, and induces the production of patulin, a mycotoxin that negatively affects human health.

“Patulin contamination in apple products has been a worldwide problem without a satisfactory solution yet,” the study stated.

ScienceDirect, an online portal for scientific, technical, and medical research, also noted that Patulin is of some public health concern because of its potential carcinogenic properties and because it has been found in commercial apple juice and other apple products. 

“Patulin is toxic to many biological systems, including bacteria, mammalian cell cultures, higher plants, and animals, adding “The acute symptoms in animals include lung and brain oedema, liver, spleen and kidney damage, and toxicity to the immune system.

 “For humans, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, and vomiting have been reported,” it stated.

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