If you’ve been following the news cycle this week, you may have noticed that poppy seeds have been making headlines because of a nationwide recall.
Per reports from the ABC, 19 people in Victoria suffered toxic contamination from poppy seed tea, and a further 12 in NSW have needed medical attention after ingesting poppy seed products. So, what’s happening, and what do you need to do if you have poppy seeds at home right now?
Which poppy seeds are affected and why?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has shared that the national recall of poppy seeds is in response to “the potential presence of the toxic chemical thebaine” in the seeds.
There are six different poppy brand varieties included in the nationwide recall. These include:
- Hoyts Food Manufacturing – Hoyts Poppy Seeds
- Gaganis Bros Imported Food Wholesalers – Gaganis Premium Australian Poppy Seed
- East West Foods Wholesale – Poppy Seeds
- Basfoods International – Royal Fields Poppy Seeds
- Eumarrah – Eumarrah Poppy Seeds
- Freshco Foods Victoria – Uttam Khus Khus Poppy (blue)
Food-safe poppy seeds contain little to no thebaine in them; the chemical is toxic when consumed in large quantities. What has happened here is that non-food-safe poppy seeds have somehow entered into the food chain circulation.
Speaking with the ABC, Dr Christopher Parkinson, a senior lecturer in medicinal chemistry at Charles Sturt’s School of Dentistry and Medical Sciences, explained that “if you do have a reaction to consuming poppy seeds, there is a way that the effect can be reversed — make sure that you inform the ambulance or doctor that you have been exposed to poppy seeds,” he said.
What symptoms should I look out for?
If you’re concerned about your health after consuming poppy seeds, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional for dedicated advice.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand states symptoms can “include increased respiratory rate and muscle spasms, which can progress to seizures, breathing difficulty and unconsciousness.”
If you have any of the affected poppy seed varieties at home, the current advice is to take them back to your place of purchase “for a full refund and safe disposal”.
It appears the behaviour health officials are most concerned with is brewing the seeds into teas, as these “have resulted in cases of severe toxicity,” Victorian Health has shared.
“Toxic effects have not been reported from ingestion of smaller quantities of seeds as food however the impact of smaller amounts (either cooked or raw) is not known and investigations into this are on-going,” the website reads.
In short, if you’re feeling unwell, don’t hesitate to reach out for medical assistance, and otherwise, be sure to avoid consuming any affected poppy seeds going forward.
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.