The Government's food watchdog warned the public about the poisonous nature of the apricot seeds. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said that the seeds if consumed in larger quantities could be fatal.
It is said that they can produce cyanide and result in death. A maximum of two bitter apricot kernels may be safely eaten in one day. Natural food retailer Julian Graves removed the seeds from shop shelves after it was found selling packs with a recommended daily dosage of up to 10 kernels. Bitter apricot kernels are thought to contain high levels of vitamin B17 (laetrile). This is considered as an immune system-booster and even as a cancer treatment. The seeds are also available in the UK via specialist websites. But Cancer Research said that this substance found in apricot pips is not an active agent in curing cancer.
The FSA spokesman said that there have been reports from overseas of consumption of 20 to 30 kernels by adults in a short period of time being associated with very serious health effects. They could potentially be lethal in high enough doses. Julian Graves spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said the retail chain had started selling bitter apricot kernels due to high customer demand. She also advised the people to do their own research and make their own minds up before buying the product. She also said that so far there have been absolutely no trials done on this product. But the FSA will discuss this matter with the European Commission and other member states to protect the consumers.