Cyanide in apricot kernels (ICS Code: 67.080)
Health Canada's Proposal to Add Cyanide in Apricot Kernels to the List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Foods.
Food contaminants and other adulterating substances are chemicals that may be present in foods at levels that could impact the overall safety and/or quality of foods. These substances can either be inadvertently or naturally present in foods or in some cases intentionally added for fraudulent purposes. Establishing a prohibition or a maximum level (ML) are forms of risk management that may be employed to eliminate or reduce exposure to a particular chemical contaminant in foods. Canadian prohibitions and MLs for chemical contaminants in food are set out in Part 1 and Part 2, respectively, of the List of Contaminants and Other Adulterating Substances in Foods, which is incorporated by reference into section B.15.001 of Division 15 of the Food and Drug Regulations (the Regulations). Maximum levels are also set out in the List of Maximum Levels for Various Chemical Contaminants in Foods, which is maintained on Health Canada's website. All prohibitions and MLs for contaminants in food are established by Health Canada's Food Directorate based on scientific evidence and in consultation with stakeholders and are enforceable by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
New information regarding how raw apricot kernels are being sold in Canada is available. There are also indications that consumers may not be aware of or follow Health Canada's existing consumption advisory for adults to consume no more than three bitter apricot kernels a day and that they should not be consumed by children. This suggests that further risk management actions are required to address any potential health risks associated with acute cyanide poisoning from the consumption of raw apricot kernels, which can lead to serious adverse health effects. The purpose of this notice is to seek feedback on three risk management options to protect Canadians from the risk of cyanide exposure due to the consumption of apricot kernels.