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Hydrogen cyanide in food - Hydrogen cyanide in almonds

Hydrogen cyanide in food. Recalls due to prussic acid in almonds, apricot kernels and other foods

Cyanid in food.

During the last weeks there has been an increase of the recalls in the RASFF due to hydrogen cyanide found in almonds, apricots kernels, and other foods. 
Cyanide is a toxic substance that can be lethal to humans and is present in nature in several superior plants, called cyanogenic plants, with the capacity to generate significant amounts of cyanide (CN) from the cyanogenic glycosides (GCs) present in a natural state. It can be in the form of cyanogenic glycosides, acetone cyanohydrin, and hydrogen cyanide (HCN). Cyanogenic glycosides per se are relatively non-toxic; however, they are converted into toxic hydrogen cyanide in the intestinal tract.
Among others the most important GCs are amygdalinin, amarin,ldhurrin and lotraustralin. Sorghum, almonds, apricots, peaches, apples, cherries, alfalfa, bamboo, among others, are examples of these plants. The potential to generate CN varies with each plant. 
Hydrogen cyanide is ubiquitous in nature. It is found in the stratosphere and non-urban troposphere. It is released into the atmosphere from biomass burning, volcanoes, and natural biogenic processes from higher plants, bacteria, algae, and fungi.
Methods such as peeling, washing, heating, drying, fermenting and chemical treatment are used to remove or reduce cyanide.
According to the EFSA evaluation in 2019, the main contributors to exposures were biscuits, juice or nectar and pastries and cakes that could potentially contain CNGs.
Levels of Hydrocyanic acid, including hydrocyanic acid bound in cyanogenic glycosides, are established in the Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006, for Unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped apricot kernels placed on the market for the final consumer 20,0 mg/kg 
Institut Kirchhoff Berlin can quantify total cyanides on food (almonds, almond cookies, other bakery products) and feed with accredited HPLC-FLD or Spectrophotometric method, ISO17025 accredited.

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