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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Pine nuts: ANSES issues a new opinion

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News of 24/09/2010

24 September 2010

Since the summer of 2008, the Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) and the centres for poison control and toxicant monitoring have registered reports of transitory bitterness after consumption of pine nuts. Some of these reports have been made on Internet forums.

In other European countries, health authorities have also indicated reports of bitterness, but the analyses and verifications made to date have not been able to detect specific contaminants or physico-chemical residues in the batches in question.
In an initial opinion issued in September 2009, the Agency reported that after having examined all the available data, no scientifically supported hypothesis could demonstrate a health risk.
The Agency has since then pursued its study of the problem. In its opinion dated 26 July 2010, ANSES indicated that a certain botanical species of pine nuts known to be bitter is strongly suspected. In light of the currently available data, the agent responsible for the bitterness cannot be identified in the short term. Therefore, the Agency recommends that only species of pine nuts listed as edible by the FAO (1) should be consumed in France.
This position is consistent with the propositions put forward by France during its EU presidency calling for more stringent European control of imported goods.

(1) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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