National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has warned Nigerians against consuming Pure Tassie organic apple and blackcurrant 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, disclosed this sometime in August, 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 Blackcurrant 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.
Earlier in the year, an Australian news outlet, 7News, had reported that thousands of bottles of Pure Tassie apple and blackcurrant juice had been recalled over potential toxin contamination.
“The recall notice applies to any 1.5-litre bottle with a best before date of October 6, 2020.
“The juice, produced by Tasmanian-owned company Juicy Isle, was found to be contaminated with mycotoxin patulin, according to Product Safety Australia.
“It’s a toxic fungus most commonly found in rotten apples. If consumed, contaminated juice could cause serious illness, including nausea and vomiting,” 7News had reported.
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.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Juicy Isle said it prides itself on “ongoing quality,” adding, “Regretfully, a batch of Pure Tassie Apple and Blackcurrant Juice has not met these standards and we are performing a product recall.
“Testing has revealed an elevated level of patulin which is often found in apple juice and related products. Consuming the product may cause nausea and potential vomiting.”
Again, the NSW Food Authority, an Australian government organisation, via its verified Facebook page, warned that Juicy Isle Pty Ltd is conducting a recall of Pure Tassie – Organic Pure Apple Juice products.
The notice added:
Problem: The recall is due to microbial (mycotoxin – Patulin) contamination.
Food safety hazard: Food products containing mycotoxin (Patulin) may cause illness if consumed.
Country of origin: Australia
What to do: Consumers should not eat these products and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.
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.